Islamic State urges Muslim extremists to wage war in Philippine city of Marawi

Islamic State urges Muslim extremists to wage war in Philippine city of MarawiThe Islamic State terrorist group has released a new video calling on Muslim extremists in Southeast Asia to wage holy war in the besieged Philippine city of Marawi, while denouncing America and Australia for aiding the country’s military. Its release comes as the battle between Isil-linked militants and government forces in the southern Muslim city of Marawi enters its fourth month, fuelling fears that the terrorist group is trying to set up a regional base in Southeast Asia after crushing defeats in the Middle East. In the seven-minute long video, produced by Isil’s Al Hayat media centre, a fighter identified as Abul-Yaman from Marawi, appeals to Muslim brothers in East Asia, particularly those in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and Singapore to migrate to the city “to perform jihad.” The graphic and chilling footage, which depicts dead Philippine soldiers and militant “martyrs” dying in battle, is accompanied by an American-accented narrator who rails against the “subjugation” of Muslims in the Philippines. It opens with scenes of young men engaged in heavy fighting amid the city ruins, brandishing AK-47s through incoming mortar fire and air strikes. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte  gives a pep talk to troops fighting the extremist Maute group in Marawi. Credit: Handout/Reuters In scenes reminiscent of the destruction of Mosul, Iraq, it then switches to the destruction of a Catholic church, showing militants tearing down a cross, smashing statues of the Virgin Mary and ripping up posters of the pope. “We will make revenge…We will be in Rome, in’shallah,” shouts a masked militant. The terrorist group then turns its ire on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, for running to “his masters, the defenders of the cross, America, along with their regional guard dog Australia” to beg them for help. It accuses the Philippines’ allies of aiding Duterte in “a malicious air campaign” against the Islamic State. The fighting in Marawi has put Canberra on edge, with rising concerns that the growth of Isil in the region could herald more terrorist attacks in Australia. In June Australia deployed two surveillance planes to Mindanao province, where Marawi is located, to help the Philippine military in the battle. Earlier this week, Australian spy chief Nick Warner also met President Duterte in an unusually public visit to discuss progress. The Philippines regional neighbours are also nervous. Malaysia’s top terrorist officer, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, told Channel NewsAsia that the new video was “powerful” and would “inflame the passions” of Muslim fanatics. “Since the Marawi siege started, we have seen increased activities from IS cells in Malaysia trying to enter into the southern Philippines,” he said.



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