ISIS-linked militants are planning but failing to attack another town in the southern Philippines shortly after Philippine soldiers cracked down on their occupation in Marawi last year, the country's largest Muslim rebel group said on Tuesday.
Al Haj Murad Ebrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front said plans to attack the town of Iligan or Cotabato failed after the Marawi occupation ended, but the extremists have continued to recruit new troops to recover from the defeat of their battles.
Murad said his group continued intelligence information on the planned attack on the two cities, which are the bustling commercial centers, to government troops through a ceasefire channel opened during the peace talks. He published the information in a forum with foreign journalists and emphasized how his group helped combat terrorism.
President Rodrigo Duterte and military officials have also said that the remnants of radical groups that occupied and destroyed Marawi for five months were searching for new troops and plotting new attacks.
Duterte called the threat in his speech Monday night (19/2) in which he criticized Canada for wearing restrictions on the use of helicopter gunships to be bought by the Philippines. He has ordered the military to cancel the purchase. [gp]