Philippines concerned over 'emerging' terror threat

Philippines concerned over 'emerging' terror threat
Philippine security forces stand guard. While there have been no specific threats picked up, the mostly Catholic country continues to monitor the activities of the local Abu Sayyaf and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters terror groups.
PHOTO: Reuters

MANILA - Philippine security forces expressed concern over an "emerging threat" of terrorism, after suicide attackers struck the Indonesian capital on Thursday.

Police said five suspects and two civilians were killed, while 10 other people were injured, after a series of explosions and gunfire tore through a Starbucks cafe in Jakarta and shook an embassy district.

Indonesian police said a local group linked to Islamic State extremists, which control large swathes of Iraq and Syria, was suspected of carrying out the killings, though the identities of the attackers have yet to be established.

"Our security forces are well aware of the emerging threat and have been conducting operations to prevent terror acts anywhere in the country," said a joint Philippine military and police statement on the Jakarta incident.

Military spokesman Colonel Restituto Padilla told AFP there had been no recent specific threats picked up by the authorities in the Philippines.

However, he said the police and military forces continued to monitor the "usual threats from local terrorist groups, such as the BIFF and ASG."

The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), blamed for many of the Catholic nation's deadliest bombings, as well as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) Muslim guerrillas, have pledged allegiance to Islamic State fighters.

The military has said both groups had in the past sheltered foreign militants fleeing prosecution for the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia.

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