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Daesh-inspired militants on offensive in southern Philippines

AFP/Manila
Filed on March 3, 2016
Daesh-inspired militants on offensive in southern Philippines

Gunmen who have pledged allegiance to the extremists controlling vast swathes of Iraq and Syria have instigated a series of deadly battles with the army.

Militants fighting in the name of Daesh are escalating attacks in the southern Philippines, analysts said, deepening fears for the volatile region after its main Muslim rebel group failed to seal a peace pact. 

Gunmen who have pledged allegiance to the extremists controlling vast swathes of Iraq and Syria have instigated a series of deadly battles with the army since the nation's parliament blocked the peace push last month. 

An assassination attempt this week on a visiting Saudi Arabian preacher who was on an Daesh hit list has raised the alarm further, although police emphasised they were yet to determine the gunman's motives.

Also read: Saudi Imam shot by gunman in the Philippines: Police 

"Their influence is growing stronger and it is expanding," Rodolfo Mendoza, a senior analyst at the Manila-based Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research told AFP, referring to Daesh.

He said the various local groups that had pledged allegiance to Daesh were "planning big operations, like bombings, attacks or assassinations". 

Such violence has plagued large areas of the southern Philippines for decades, as rebels have fought an insurgency that has claimed 120,000 lives. 

The violence has left the region one of the poorest in the Philippines, while allowing warlords and extortion gangs to flourish.

Also read: Philippines probes attack on Daesh-targeted top Saudi cleric

 





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