SE Asian Islamic State unit being formed in southern Philippines

June 23, 2016 15:32

JAKARTA/MANILA - Southeast Asian militants who claim to be fighting for Islamic State in the Middle East have said they have chosen one of the most wanted men in the Philippines to head a regional faction of the ultra-radical group, security officials said on Thursday.

The claim was made in a video that was recently posted on social media, possibly last week, a military intelligence official in the Philippines told Reuters.

The video is significant, experts say, because it shows that Islamic State supporters are now being asked to stay home and unify under one umbrella group to launch attacks in Southeast Asia, instead of being drawn to the fight in the Middle East.

Authorities in the region have been on heightened alert since Islamic State claimed an attack in the Indonesian capital Jakarta in January in which eight people were killed, including four of the attackers.

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