Philippines on alert over warnings IS-linked terrorists plan to bomb churches in the north

12 August 2019

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Filipino security forces are on alert after receiving information that an extremist group with links to Islamic State (IS), and trained by Sri Lankan bomb-making experts, is planning to target churches in the north of the country.

Two Sri Lankan terrorists linked to Islamic State have slipped into the Philippines and are reportedly training members of an IS-associated extremist group called Suyuful Khilafa Fi Luzon .

The group is apparently aiming to attack churches on the highly populated northern island of Luzon, which includes the capital of Manila. This would be unusual in that most Islamist terrorist activity in the Philippines has been focused in the south .

Militants are thought to be seeking to bomb targets in Luzon in order to send a message that their influence is spreading in places far from their strongholds, Filipino security officials have said.

One of the Sri Lankan terrorists reportedly has ties to the IS-associated terrorist group accused of carrying out the Easter Sunday attacks in 2019 that targeted Christians in Sri Lanka and killed more than 254 people.

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed on August 6 that security forces in Luzon were on heightened alert to thwart possible attacks. He stated, “The president said that he was afraid that this ISIS group would reach here. The fear and apprehension will always be there for as long as terrorism led by this godless group is still present.”

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