The US Department of State has again warned American citizens against traveling to the Philippines, citing the threat brought by terror groups with ties to Al-Qaeda.
In an advisory issued before the Abu Sayyaf Group freed two German captives Viktor Stefan Okonek and Henrite Dielen in Patikul Sulu, the US Embassy in Manila said the target of terror attacks in the East Asian and Pacific Region are foreign nationals, including Americans.
The travel warning quoted credible sources with information that suggest “continued risk of armed terrorists and criminal groups operating and planning attacks against foreigners.”
“The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas,” the advisory said.
A US-led military offensive was launched against ISIL on September 22. In response to these airstrikes, the terror group has called for a counterattacks on foreigners.
“Authorities believe there is an increased likelihood of reprisal attacks against US, Western and coalition partner interests throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Asia,” the advisory said.
It noted that the Abu Sayyaf group and the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah have “cells operating throughout Southeast Asia.”
“There is a risk of travel to the Philippines, especially related to kidnapping threats in the Sulu Archipelago and the ongoing threat of violence on the island of Mindanao, particularly in Central Mindanao,” the travel advisory said.
The recent advisory noted that terror groups “may attempt to intercept boats ferrying tourists in the area.”
“And let us not forget two separate unsuccessful car bombing incidents at the Manila International Airport,” it added.