|Manila says first Filipino ‘suicide bomber’ behind last month’s attack|
|[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] Philippine security forces confirmed Wednesday that at least one Filipino "" was behind a deadly attack last month, in a first for the Asian country.|
Norman Lasuca and one other yet to be identified suspect blew themselves up outside a military camp on the remote southern island of Jolo on June 28 in an attack that also killed three soldiers and two civilians, the police and military said.
"We can now confirm... the incidence of the first in the Philippines, perpetrated by a Filipino in the person of Norman Lasuca," military Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo told a news conference.
The Jolo bombing marks a worrying escalation of militancy driven by the influence of the ISIS group in Southeast Asia, security experts earlier told AFP.
A decades-old insurgency in the southern Philippines has killed tens of thousands.
But s have been used extremely rarely, with blamed for the few that have been carried out.
National police Bernard Banac described last month’s bombing as "a locally initiated attack organized by the group", a Jolo-based gang of engaged in kidnappings and bombings.
"The report as claimed by ISIS that they are the ones responsible for this is still up to validation and that remains to be seen," he told s, referring to ISIS by an alternative name.
Philippine authorities said the two suspected Jolo bombers’ remains were tested for DNA, and one matched that of Lasuca’s mother and brother, who are both Tausugs, the predominant ethnic group in Jolo.
Experts are still attempting to identify the second bomber, Banac said.
"Before, we only heard of IED (improvised ) attacks, remote-controlled attacks but this time an individual as a full-fledged suicide bomber," Arevalo said.
"We (security forces) will have adjustments in techniques, tactics and procedures given this development," he said.
"We consider this to be an isolated case," he added.
he acknowledged that "the security environment in our country has changed" and civilians should help the security forces combat the new threat.
They must ensure prospective recruits "won’t be radicalized by terrorist groups (who are) only waiting for the right time and individual to bring to the road of extremism," he said.
Arevalo said Lasuca’s mother described the son, in his early twenties, as a former "battered" child who endured beatings meted out by his father.
|Three Soldiers Killed in Philippines' Restive South, ISIS claims attack|
|[AnNahar] An attack on a special Philippine army counter-terrorism unit left three soldiers dead and nine others in the southern Philippines on Friday, military spokesmen and witnesses told AFP.|
Unknown suspects targeted the unit's temporary headquarters on the island of Jolo, a stronghold of -linked s.
"It was a bomb and a firefight," army Colonel Ramon Zagala told AFP, adding the attackers' identities were not immediately known.
An AFP on the scene saw a blood-soaked man slumped on a tricycle on a street also stained with blood in front of the temporary headquarters of the army's 1,500-member First Brigade Combat team.
The Philippines has renewed its campaign against the in Jolo this year after at least one suspected attacked the island's Roman Catholic cathedral, killing 21 people.
Major Arvin Arcinas, the region's military , said three army members were killed in Friday's attack, with nine other soldiers were .
He said he could not confirm if there were civilian casualties and could not say what kind of explosives were used.
Jolo and other remote areas of the southern Philippines are home to numerous s including the Abu Sayyaf, which is notorious for kidnappings and bombings.
The s, who demand large ransoms and have beheaded several hostages, have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
The army deployed the specially trained unit in the Jolo town of Indanan four weeks ago.
In the same week, a Dutch birdwatcher held for years by the Abu Sayyaf was killed in Jolo during a firefight between his kidnappers and soldiers sent to rescue him.
ISIS claims responsibility for Philippine army camp bombing that left 5 dead
[Reuters via Task & Purpose] An explosion at a military base in the restive southern Philippines on Friday killed five people, including three soldiers, and wounded nine others in what Islamic State said was an attack by its suicide bombers.
The military said the blast occurred at around noon at a base on Jolo island, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, a splintered militant network notorious for kidnapping and piracy and for its pledge of allegiance to Islamic State.
Islamic State said via its Amaq news agency that its fighters had infiltrated the base strapped with explosives and killed or wounded 100 soldiers. It posted an image of two young men standing beside a black Islamic State flag, wearing what appeared to be vests designed to hold explosives.
Neither the claim nor the authenticity of the photograph could be immediately verified.
The incident will be a major setback for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's goal of wiping out Abu Sayyaf, for which he has created a special infantry division on Jolo to be comprised of 4,500 troops by 2022.
There was no immediate comment from Duterte's office.
|ISIS bride helping CIA track down Baghdadi|
The woman, Nisrine Assad Ibrahim, better known by her doom-inducing nom de guerre, Umm Sayyaf, has reportedly helped in joint CIA-Kurdish efforts to track down Mr Baghdadi by providing detailed accounts of his movements over the years, including the locations of safe houses as well as the obscure traveling routes that he takes.
Miss Sayyaf, 29-years-old, and believed to be Iraqi, was captured in a 2015 US Delta Force raid in Syria, in which her husband, ’s then-second in command and the group’s so-called oil minister, , was killed.
Since being detained, Miss Sayyaf has reportedly spent many hours helping American use maps to determine where Baghdadi may be bogged down.
"They were very polite [the American ] and wore civilian clothes," she told the Guardian, "I showed them everything I knew."
In February 2016, Miss Sayyaf is said to have provided the location of a house in the northern Iraqi city of where she believed Baghdadi was hiding out. Yet, despite being so close to bagging the world’s most wanted man, Kurdish officials told the Guardian that the US did not want to carry out an on the home for fear of killing civilians in the tightly packed neighbourhood.
"I told them where the house was," Umm Sayyaf is reported as having said.
"I knew he’d been there because it was one of the houses that was provided for him, and one of the places he liked the most," she told the Guardian.
|ISIS plot to detonate bombs remotely using WIFI is foiled as police round-up dozens of terror suspects in Indonesia|
|[Daily Mail, where America gets its news] |
Some 29 suspects were rounded up this month alone, with 60 in all detained since the start of the year in raids across the Southeast Asian nation, they said.
Eight other suspects had been killed in confrontations with authorities, police said, including the wife of a militant who blew up herself and a child following a dramatic standoff at their home in March.
Some arrested suspects were skilled bomb makers and had fought alongside the jihadist group in Syria, as well as members of local extremist network Jemaah Anshurat Daulah (JAD), police said.
JAD has pledged allegiance to IS and was blamed for a wave of suicide bombings at churches in Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya last year.
[Jpost] The U.S. embassy in Jakarta has issued a security alert ahead of election results due on Wednesday, as Indonesian authorities have arrested nearly 30 suspected militants, including some who police say are able to detonate bombs using Wi-Fi networks.
The embassy advised U.S. citizens to avoid areas where large demonstrations may occur in Jakarta, and in other cities including Surabaya in East Java and Medan in North Sumatra, in a statement that was dated on Friday, May 17.
Indonesian authorities have said they are heightening security ahead of May 22, when the official result of last month's presidential election will be announced.
Indonesian National Police spokesman, Muhammad Iqbal, told reporters in a briefing on Friday that police this month have arrested 29 suspects linked to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) - the largest Islamic State-linked group in the country - and confiscated at least five homemade bombs in various locations across Java and North Sulawesi.
Some of the suspects have had paramilitary training and went to Syria as foreign fighters, Iqbal said.
Indonesian police also revealed that some of the suspects have learned how to use Wi-Fi to detonate explosive devices, but it was not immediately clear how advanced their plans were.
Detonating bombs using a Wi-Fi network is considered a new technique, Dedi Prasetyo, another National Police spokesman, told Reuters on Tuesday, and gets around using phone signals, which can be jammed during rallies involving large crowds.
"If there is (cell phone) jammer, then phones are not operable but the Wi-Fi signal will not be disturb, especially when using signal amplifier," Prasetyo said.
The police spokesmen did not answer or return phone calls on Saturday to get more information.
The police arrested EY, a local leader of JAD in Bekasi, near the capital Jakarta, on May 8 in the capital for plotting attacks during next week's announcement of the presidential election. The police identified the suspect only by his initials.
JAD does not have an official spokesman, and it is not known if any of the suspects have retained legal representation.
The arrests are part of the authority's efforts to tighten security ahead of an announcement by the General Election Commission (KPU) on May 22, when nearly 32,000 police and military personnel will be on standby in Jakarta.
The announcement is expected to confirm unofficial counts by private pollsters that showed incumbent President Joko Widodo as having won the race, a result which has been publicly disputed by his contender, ex-general Prabowo Subianto.
Prabowo's supporters have pledged to protest peacefully if the official result confirms Widodo's victory, and large groups of people could be out in the streets after the announcement.
|Indonesia says breaks up plot to attack police over election period|
|[AlAhram] Indonesian anti-terrorism police have one Islamist and detained six suspected of planning attacks on officers with firearms or s under the cover of rallies tied to recent elections, a police said.|
The suspects were detained after weekend raids in Bekasi in West Java and one died after being shot when he threw a bomb at police, national police Dedi Prasetyo said.
"They were planning to take police firearms and use them to commit terrorism, whether by becoming s or performing other attacks that could be fatal for protesters," Prasetyo said, adding that explosives had also been seized.
President Joko Widodo declared victory after the April 17 election based on unofficial results from private pollsters, but his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto, has complained of widespread cheating and insists he won.
Prabowo has said that if his complaints were not addressed and an official count due by May 22 confirmed his loss, it could trigger "people power" style protests.
Prasetyo said the suspected were linked to the -inspired Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) group, the largest Islamic State-linked group in Indonesia, which was legally disbanded last year for "conducting terrorism" and affiliating itself with the foreign group.
He said the suspects intended to use explosives and firearms to imitate the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which carried out a series of attacks and bombings across India's financial capital.
Indonesian police have had considerable success in stopping major attacks since the deadly 2002 Bali bombings, though analysts warn against complacency.
"Indonesia has been lucky thus far that its generally have had too little experience to think big," analyst Sidney Jones from the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict said in a recent report.
"With a little imagination and better leadership, these pro-ISIS cells could do far greater damage," said Jones.
In March, the wife and son of a suspected blew themselves up in their home on the island of Sumatra after hours of tense negotiations with counter-terrorism officers.
Indonesia also saw a series of gruesome attacks in the city of Surabaya a year ago, when whole families, including children as young as nine, strapped on explosive vests and blew themselves up at churches and s, killing more than 30 people.
|Indonesia Says Uncovers Huge Explosives Stash after Suicide Blast|
|[AnNahar] Indonesian police said Thursday they had uncovered a huge stash of explosives linked to a terror suspect whose wife blew up herself and a child following a dramatic standoff at their home.|
The discovery of some 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of assembled explosives and bomb-making materials raised fears that a major attack was being planned, a month before national elections and less than a year after Indonesia was rocked by a wave of deadly s.
The early Wednesday morning came after police had the husband, Abu Hamzah, who was identified as a member of Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).
The -linked jihadist network has been blamed for attacks last May in Indonesia's second-biggest city, Surabaya, the deadliest in years to rock the world's biggest majority nation.
Officers surrounded the arrested 's home in Sibolga on Sumatra island when the confrontation began.
During a nearly 12-hour standoff, the wife lobbed an at security personnel, wounding a police officer, authorities said.
They later found parts of a woman's corpse and that of at least one child. Police initially said they thought two of the couple's children might have been killed.
"We're still trying to formally identify his wife because the body isn't one piece," said national police Dedi Prasetyo.
"A total of 300 kilogrammes of bombs and bomb-making materials were discovered," Prasetyo said.
On Thursday, police destroyed materials in a controlled in a field.
University of Indonesia terrorism expert Stanislaus Riyanta said the large stash hinted that a serious attack was being planned.
"This is frightening," he told AFP.
"The impact of bombs depends on the materials used. But this amount -- 300 kilogrammes -- if used all at one time, could certainly be very destructive and deadly, especially in a densely populated area."
The arrest of Hamzah, who police said was a skilled bomb maker, comes days after authorities arrested two other terror suspects in other parts of the country. Police said all three were connected.
Last year, two families carried out attacks at churches in Surabaya, killing a dozen people and children of the attackers, including two s.
On Thursday, a Jakarta court sentenced several linked to the Surabaya bombings with prison sentences ranging from about three to 10 years.
Since the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed over 200 people including scores of tourists, Indonesia has seen a string of deadly attacks that have tested its long-held reputation for religious tolerance.
|Islamist jihadists prime suspects in Philippine cathedral bombing|
Two s tore through the cathedral on the -majority island of Jolo yesterday, killing worshipers at Sunday mass and security forces in an attack claimed by the terror group.
Authorities say the so-called Ajang-Ajang faction is a small band of several dozen that most likely carried out the bombing, the Philippines’ worst in years, in an act of .
"Last year their leader was killed. There have been persistent reports that they will retaliate," regional military Lieutenant Colonel Gerry Besana tells AFP.
"Yes, we saw them in the CCTV. It was the brother of the leader who was killed," he says referring to footage from outside the cathedral. "He was seen with two other members of Ajang-Ajang."
Security forces say the group is composed of relatives of Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group members who have been killed in with the government.
The vote was the result of negotiations started in the 1990s with the nation's largest rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and will give it considerable power over the so-called Bangsamoro region.
The IS claim, in a formal communique, said two s had detonated s, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activities.
But a military report said the second bomb was left in the utility box of a in the parking area outside the church. Police said they believe the explosives were detonated remotely, but did elaborate.
|Bombs kill |
|[IsraelTimes] Attack during Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel occurs on Jolo island, long troubled by terror organization.|
Two bombs outside a Roman Catholic cathedral on a southern Philippine island where are active, killing at least 19 people and wounding nearly 50 during a Sunday Mass, officials said.
The first bomb went off in or near the Jolo cathedral in the , followed by a second blast outside the compound as government forces were responding to the attack, security officials said.
Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde said that at least 19 people died and 48 were . Police and military reports said the casualties included both troops and civilians.
No one has immediately .
The attack came nearly a week after minority s in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation endorsed a new autonomous region in the southern Philippines in hopes of ending nearly five decades of a separatist rebellion that has left 150,000 people dead.
Although most of the areas approved it, voters in Sulu province, where Jolo is located, rejected it. The province is home to a rival rebel faction that’s opposed to the deal as well as the Abu Sayyaf group, which is not part of any
As soldiers responded, a second device was detonated in the car park.
The local officials say the first blast happened at 08:45 local time (00:45 GMT) inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which has been hit by bombs in the past.
The second explosion was shortly afterwards on the doorstep of the church.
Local police initially put the death toll at 27 but later lowered it to 20, saying there was double counting in earlier official reports.
Most of the victims are civilians.
The referendum was the result of a peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
|Egypt state gazette publishes names of 164 Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya members placed on terrorism list|
|[AlAhram] Egypt’s official gazette published on Sunday the names of 164 members of the hard-line Islamist movement al-Gamaa al-Islamiya |
The court placed the group, which waged an armed insurgency in the 1990s but renounced violence more than a decade ago, on a "terrorist entities" list, and placed 164 of its members on the terrorism list for five years.
The list includes the group's leading members Assem Abdel-Maged,
"These are judicial precautionary measures that seek to preserve, protect and [serve] the interest of the entire society," said the court.
The court's decision was based on a memo prepared by the High State Security Prosecution that says many leaders and members of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya "renounced their previous initiative to stop violence and declared their adherence to the ideology of the organization that justifies violent acts," and regard the president as an infidel for failing to abide by Islamic Sharia law, the official gazette said.
Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya was implicated in the 1981 of Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat before they renounced violence more than a decade ago.
Morsi, a leader of the group who was removed from office after a one-year rule, is now serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted for involvement in the killing of protesters during demonstrations that culminated in his ouster, and a 25-year jail term over spying for Egyptian authorities banned the Brotherhood in 2013 and declared it a terrorist organization.
|Two Islamic State leaders killed in artillery shelling on Iraqi-Syrian border|
|Anbar (IraqiNews.com) ‐ Two leaders were killed Wednesday in an artillery shelling by the Popular Mobilization Forces on the Syrian city of al-Baghuz on the border with Iraq.|
"Artillery shells were fired against three hotbeds of Islamic State near the Syrian city of al-Baghuz, leaving two Islamic State leaders dead," Alghad Press website quoted deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces as saying in a statement.
"The pair, codenamed as and Abu Laith, were standing behind the recent attacks against the Syrian Democratic Forces stationed on the Iraqi-Syrian border," added the statement.
On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi stressed the need for tightening security along the border with neighboring Syria to eradicate terrorist groups scattered there.
|Indonesian police gun down 3 suspected members of Daesh-linked network|
|[PRESSTV] Indonesian anti-terrorism officers have three suspected -linked during a firefight in the central city of Yogyakarta on the island of Java.|
National police Mohammad Iqbal said in a statement on Saturday that the officers from the elite unit had shot the suspected after being attacked with "sharp weapons and a firearm."
He added that the three men were believed to be members of a local -affiliated network, known as Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which is blacklisted by the US Department of State as a terrorist organization.
Two officers also suffered arm injuries and police seized four machetes and a revolver.
The majority- Southeast Asian country has been facing mounting violence in recent years.
In May, around 26 people were killed and dozens injured in multiple bombings in the country’s second-largest city, Surabaya, the deadliest attack in over a decade.
Police linked the bombings on churches and outside a in Surabaya to JAD.
|Indonesian cleric sentenced to death over 2016 ISIS/JAD terror attack|
|[IsraelTimes] Aman Abdurrahman convicted for in Starbucks cafe attributed to Islamic State|
Indonesian Aman Abdurrahman
Heavily armed police guarded the hearing at a Jakarta court ‐ which had earlier found Abdurrahman guilty of ing the attack that killed four ‐ as it ordered his execution.
"(The defendant) has been proven to have committed a criminal act of terrorism," said judge Akhmad Jaini, who also cited Abdurrahman’s involvement in other attacks for handing down the "He will be sentenced to death."
Executions are carried out by firing squad in the world’s biggest -majority country, which has long struggled with Islamist terrorism.
The assault in the capital two years ago saw security forces battle gun-toting near the cafe where a suicide bomber detonated his explosives.
Last month, prosecutors demanded that Abdurrahman be handed a death sentence for his role in the attack, which was the first claimed by IS in Southeast Asia.
Considered the de facto head of all IS supporters in Indonesia, Abdurrahman ‐ believed to be 46 ‐ is also the spiritual leader of local network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).
Authorities have said JAD was involved in the 2016 attack and a recent wave of s in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya. Two families ‐ including girls aged nine and 12 ‐ blew themselves up at churches and a last month, killing 13.
Authorities have not charged Abdurrahman ‐ who was already in jail on a separate terror conviction ‐ over the Surabaya attacks.
Despite being imprisoned since 2010, Abdurrahman has recruited to join IS, is thought to have been in communication with leaders of the jihadist group, and is the main translator for IS propaganda in Indonesia, according to analysts and authorities.