ISIS Continues to Enter Philippines, MILF Leader Reminds 'Second Marawi'

The leader of the largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), warned of a potential 'second Marawi'. This refers to the influx of radical Islamist militants Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) into the Philippines.

As reported by AFP and Reuters Tuesday (20/2/2018), Murad Ebrahim who is the leader of the MILF says pro-ISIS militants in the Philippines continue to be purged of booty rifles and money cash. This situation, according to him, could trigger the latest attacks such as the attack on Marawi last year. The MILF has signed a peace deal with the Philippine government some time ago.

The pro-ISIS five-month militant raid on Marawi, Mindanao in 2017 reportedly killed more than 1,100 people. Murad insisted that the situation on the ground is currently quite 'ripe' for similar attacks in other Philippine cities, or the second Marawi attack.

"The ISIS group continues to pervade as they are expelled in the Middle East and they want to have another place," Murad said. "The other Marawi's opportunities can not be ruled out," he added.

Mentioned Murad, ISIS militants pushed in Iraq and Syria continue to flow into the southern Philippines. Murad did not mention the exact number of ISIS militants entering the Philippines. He simply stated the militants were moving to the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf group, which often kidnaps foreigners and hijacks the ship. There, they recruited new fighters from remote Muslim communities.

This recruitment is suspected to be carried out to launch a new offensive in the Philippines. Murad mentions that there are two cities that may be the target of pro-ISIS group attacks in the Philippines.

"Based on our own intelligence information, foreign fighters expelled from the Middle East continue to enter our border gap and may plan to take two cities to the south – Iligan and Cotabato," he said without elaborating. The two cities are known to be within 38 kilometers and 265 kilometers from Marawi.

Murad also said that the MILF continues to fight against pro-ISIS militant efforts infiltrated the madrassas and secular universities to influence their ideology. "These extremists enter the madrassa, teach young Muslims about their own version of the Qur'an and some enter local universities to influence students, plant seeds of hatred and violence," Murad said.

According to Murad, pro-ISIS militants also exploited delays the discussion of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) legislation allowing local Muslim communities to run their own autonomy. He also encouraged the government of President Rodrigo Duterte to speed up the discussion of BBL. "If that (BBL) is not passed now, I think it will trigger a situation where extremist groups can recruit more followers, as this will prove their theory that there is no hope in the peace process," Murad said. "Given they have the ability to supply money and then they also have the ability to assemble explosives, bombs, they can use young followers to run their plans," he added.

(nvc / ita)

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Nepalese Communist Leader Elected to Prime Minister

K.P. Sharma Oli has been elected a new Nepalese prime minister after leading an alliance of two communist parties to victory in recent parliamentary elections.

A spokesman for the presidential office said Oli was appointed to form a new government after November and December elections passed Wednesday night (14/2). The result left Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba resigned Thursday morning after eight months in office.

Also read: Ignore India, Nepal Turns to China

Oil , 65, served as prime minister from 2015 to 2016, amid Nepal's transition from a monarchy to a federal republic. During his tenure, demonstrations on the constitution led to a blockade that paralyzed the India-Nepal border by New Delhi, which pushed Nepal into closer diplomatic relations with its neighbor China.

The country in the impoverished Himalayan mountains is gripped by political instability since its formation an elected parliament in 1990, including a decade-long Maoist insurgency and the abolition of the monarchy in 2008. [lt]

Putin Greet Trump to the Palestinian Leader

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday congratulated President Donald Trump on the visiting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow. Abbas responded by saying he did not want to cooperate with Washington because Washington acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Speaking at the beginning of their meeting in the Kremlin, Putin told Abbas that he had just had a phone call with Trump. "Of course we are addressing the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and I want to pass on Trump's greetings to you," said Putin.

Abbas responded by saying his side did not cooperate with America as a sponsor of the peace process but welcomed the multilateral cooperation .

To fulfill his promise while still campaigning, Trump last December recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and promised to move the American Embassy there.

Trump's ruling infuriated the Palestinians and the entire Muslim world. Palestinian leaders say the recognition means Washington can no longer be an intermediary for Middle East peace.

"We do not want to cooperate with America as a sponsor. President Trump again surprised us. His decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and consider Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is like slapping our faces, "Abbas told Putin as broadcast by the Russian news agency. [1945909]

Pakistani Taliban Deputy Leader Killed by US Drone

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In announcing the death of Khan Said Sajna, a spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, TTP, said the drone attack before dawn occurred on February 8 in Gorwek, North Waziristan.

Although American officials rarely respond to drone anti-terrorism operations in Pakistan, the isolated tribes there and the Pakistani intelligence officials at that time confirmed Sajna and his troops were returning from the nearby Khost province of Afghanistan when missiles fired by unmanned drones about their vehicles.

Read also: Drone Attack US in Pakistan's Tribal Areas, 7 People Killed

The slain commander is believed to have taken refuge in Khost da n has links to the Haqqani network accused of launching a broad-based terrorist attack against local troops and US-led forces in Afghanistan. His assassination, analysts say, is a big blow to the TTP.

Sajna is wanted by Washington for his role in terrorist attacks against Americans. Pakistani authorities have also searched for plans for a major terrorist attack in the country and masterminded a 2012 jail prison in the northwestern town of Bannu that frees 400 inmates including prominent militants. [gp]

North Korean Leader Invites South Korean Leader to Visit

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Kim Yo-jong, North Korea's younger brother Kim Jong-un delivered the invitation at the meeting of the day Saturday (10/2) with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the presidential palace.

"Let's convene the meeting by creating the necessary conditions in the future," South Korean leader Moon Jae-in said in response to the invitation.

See also: North Korean Delegation Arrives to Attend Opening of the Olympics

South Korean political parties reacted variously to the invitation of the North. A spokesman for the ruling Democratic Party said a meeting with North Korea "creates an important momentum for" fostering peace on the Korean Peninsula. "

But opposition parties insist on caution and wonder about North Korea's real intent by conveying

Officially, Kim's sister was in South Korea as part of a high-level North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics.

However, a Yonhap news agency report said she was in South Korea as a "special envoy of Korean leaders North. "

Kim Yo-jong was the first member of the long-ruling family in the North to visit the South since the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War.

He was a senior member of the ruling Workers Party in the North and an important adviser to his brother . [gp]