Philippines hopes extremist group ‘neutralized’ after de facto leader killed

A church attack by suspected suicide bombers in January killed 22 people and wounded more than 100. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 March 2019
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Philippines hopes extremist group ‘neutralized’ after de facto leader killed

  • Dawla Islamiya is an alliance of pro-Daesh fighters, foreign and Filipino, drawn from armed groups in the volatile Mindanao region
  • The death of Abu Dar would mean Dawla Islamiya had been “neutralized”

MANILA: The Philippine military believes it may have “neutralized” the remnants of an alliance of pro-Daesh extremists, after the suspected death of the group’s de facto leader during clashes last week.
Forensic tests were being carried out to determine if one of four rebels killed on Thursday was Abu Dar, who security forces believe has led Dawla Islamiya, an alliance of pro-Daesh fighters, foreign and Filipino, drawn from armed groups in the volatile Mindanao region.
Four soldiers were also killed during the fighting in Lanao del Sur province, which Daesh claimed responsibility for on the mobile messaging service Telegram.
Regional army commander, Col. Romeo Brawner, told ABS-CBN News that the death of Abu Dar would mean Dawla Islamiya had been “neutralized.”
Dawla Islamiya in 2017 occupied southern Marawi City for five months before its core leaders were reported killed by the military in air strikes and street battles, among them Isnilon Hapilon, Islamic State’s anointed “emir” in Southeast Asia. Abu Dar was seen in seized video footage sitting beside Hapilon.
If confirmed, his death would represent rare progress at a time of heightened alert across the predominantly Muslim areas of Mindanao, where a church attack by suspected suicide bombers in January killed 22 people and wounded more than 100, just days after a local referendum on autonomy returned an overwhelming “yes” vote.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the church bombings, which the government believes were carried out by its supporters from another Mindanao group, Abu Sayyaf, which has a long history of criminal and extremist activity.


Afghan officials: 10 wounded in Kabul minibus bombing

Updated 8 min 28 sec ago
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Afghan officials: 10 wounded in Kabul minibus bombing

  • An Afghan official says all the wounded are ministry workers
  • Gunmen killed a religious scholar in Kabul yesterday

KABUL: Afghan officials say 10 people were wounded when a sticky bomb attached to a minibus carrying government workers detonated in the capital of Kabul.
Police spokesman Ferdus Faramarz says one of the wounded is in critical condition.
Arab Haidari, from the religious affairs ministry, says all the wounded are ministry’s employees who were on their way to work when the explosion took place on Monday morning.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but both the Taliban and Daesh militants regularly stage attacks in Kabul.
The bombing comes a day after gunmen shot and killed a prominent religious scholar, Mawlavi Shabir Ahmad Kamawi, in Kabul. Last week, a mosque bombing killed another religious scholar during the Friday prayers sermon, also in Kabul.