A fuel depot, a mall and commercial stores in Metro Manila are the likely targets of a terrorist team made up of different extremist groups, according to a source in the police intelligence community.
The source, an intelligence officer who asked for anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the issue, said the attack will be carried out by a team whose members are from the Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
“These have been their targets for bombings since last year,” the source said, adding that the information was relayed an intelligence agent that had infiltrated the group.
The source said that the previous planners have joined the shadowy Khilafa Islamiya Movement, a jihadist group involved in bombing attacks in Mindanao last year.
“The planned attack in NCR [National Capital Region] would be carried out by members of Luzon-based Khilafa Islamiah,” the officer said.
The Khilafa Islamiah consists of former members of the radical Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM), ASG and an unknown number of JIs.
The Rajah Solaiman was founded by Hilarion del Rosario, alias Ahmed Santos, a former Filipino migrant worker in Saudi Arabia. Its members are also former OFWs who have converted to Islam.
The Rajah Solaiman is said to be behind the Superferry 14 bombing and Valentine’s Day bombing in Makati City. More than a hundred people were killed and scores injured in the two incidents.
JI is the acronym of Jemaah Islamiah, an Indonesia-based terror group blamed for several deadly bombings in that country, including the one in Bali on October 2002 that killed 200 people, mostly Australian tourists.
The source said part of this group is Khair Mundos, a key leader of the Abu Sayyaf arrested by police agents last June in Parañaque City.
Another source in the police intelligence community has said that Mundos was sent to Manila to case the routes to be taken by Pope Francis during his visit to the country next month.
The source said that Mundos’s mobile phone contained photographs of the US embassy in Manila and the Luneta Park.
“To give you an idea. . . one of the photos extracted from his [Mundos] cellphone was a shot of the US embassy while he was lying at Rizal Park,” the source said.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has threatened to kill the pontiff during one of his foreign travels.
The Rajah Solaiman, Abu Sayyaf, BIFF and even the JI are said to have pledged allegiance to ISIS.