KIDAPAWAN CITY: The Islamic State (IS) has claimed an attack in southern Philippines for the first time, following earlier reports from a certain group called “Jundul Khilafah,” or soldiers of caliphate, in the country.
“With the grace of God we were able to detonate seven trucks carrying soldiers,” the IS said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to the IS’s Amaq news agency, dozens of Filipino soldiers were recently killed in an ongoing clash in southern Philippines, as IS fighters repelled a major ongoing campaign by the Philippine Army.
“Islamic State fighters set up ambushes on roads used by Filipino forces, where they detonated explosive devices that blasted seven troop-carrying trucks, killing most of those aboard and injuring others, in addition to surprise attacks carried out against concentrations of enemy troops,” the agency said.
“Several jihadi groups and battalions in the Philippines announced their joining of the Islamic State, the latest of which was Jund at-Tawhid Battalion of the Abu Sayyaf group, which announced its pledge of allegiance on the 20th of last month,” it added.
Also written as Jundul Tawhid, the IS was referring to Jund at-Tawhid headed by Mohd Amin Baco, a Malaysian. It did not name the other jihadi movements that had vowed allegiance to the international terror group
Previous reports showed that Harakatul Islamiyah in Basilan (another faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group headed by Isnilon Hapilon), Dawlah Islamiya or Islamic State in Lanao (headed by Abdullah Maute), Rajah Solaiman Movement in Luzon, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao, and Ansarul Khilafah in Sarangani had all rallied their support to the IS, also known as ISIS or Daesh since 2014.
The jihadists, who have identified themselves in the country as Jundul Khilafah, have claimed responsibility over the recent attack in Basilan that killed 18 soldiers and wounded more than 50 others.
The rise of IS militants in the country came amid peace talks in Mindanao, where a decades-long conflict between Muslim fundamentalists and government troops continues.
The Philippine government and the largest Muslim rebels Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have come up with two agreements in the 17-year peace talks. The MILF is openly opposing the “virus” ideology being carried by the young generation of jihadists. MOH SAADUDDIN