Asian Pacific Post
The attack by Islamic State group-affiliated militants on a Philippine city has galvanized its Southeast Asian supporters and spells trouble for the region, a top terrorism researcher said Friday as the occupation of Marawi nears two months despite a sustained military offensive.
In a new report, Sidney Jones, an expert on militant networks in Southeast Asia at the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, said there now may be a higher risk of attacks in other Philippine cities and cooperation between militants across regional borders could expand. Militants in Indonesia and Malaysia will want to redouble efforts to attack police and may also lift their sights to targeting foreigners, she said.
“The initial photographs from Marawi released over social media as the ISIS assault began — smiling fighters hold guns aloft on trucks — seemed to have the same impact as the iconic ISIS victory photos from Mosul in 2014,” Jones said, using another acronym for IS and referring to its past occupation of Iraq’s second-largest city. “They generated a shared sense of triumph and strengthened the desire of ISIS supporters in the region to join the battle.”