IS urban attacks feared
Think tank warns of ‘retaliatory bombings’
A THINK TANK that focuses on conflict in Indonesia and the Philippines warned Thursday that pro-Islamic State terrorists may bomb several cities, including Manila, in the aftermath of their defeat in Marawi City.
“I think it’s possible the various components of the IS alliance actually dispersed back to their home territories... I also think there is a chance we’ll see retaliatory bombings in some of the urban centers in the Philippines, maybe including Manila,” said Lisa Sidney Jones, director of the Institute of Policy Analysis and Conflict.
Speaking on the ANC news channel, Jones also urged the government to extract information from suspected financiers of the Marawi seige who were arrested.
“Ideology and radical indoctrination have actually taken root in the southern Philippines. It wasn’t just the alliance that went across traditional clan lines, traditional religious lines. But also there was a strong ideological element. I think that’s one thing the Philippines wants to watch out for,” she said.
She added that Marawi should be rehabilitated quickly and its people consulted on every step so radical elements would not take advantage of the situation.
Also on Thursday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana acknowledged that the recent Marawi siege showed that the country’s capabilities to deal with terrorism were “woefully inadequate.”
“For the longest time I think the AFP had been in denial mode,” he said.
But he said defense officials have been coordinating with their counterparts in the Middle East who are fighting the IS, which has ordered its fighters to return home to the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and even Singapore.
“We are very anxious to find out if they find their way back home,” Lorenzana said.