|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.
|Indonesia’s Homegrown Militants Re-emerge|
|[ASIASENTINEL] In the early morning of Feb. 11, a congregation of more than 100 worshippers packed into the small St. Lidwina Catholic church in Sleman, Yogyakarta, 530 km from Jakarta, to take part in the weekly Sunday Mass.|
Little more than 30 minutes of the service had passed when a young man yielding a meter-long samurai sword burst in through the main entrance and began attacking terror-stricken worshippers indiscriminately, leaving four people seriously injured as others ran for their lives before the perpetrator was shot in the leg and The attack exposed the lingering threat from homegrown in a country that has largely avoided the scourge of Islamist terrorism since the collapse of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in the late 2000s. In the years since, several newly-formed groups along with JI’s offshoots have remained active beneath the radar, posing only a latent threat to security in the world’s most populous nation.
The risk of returning ISIS fighters from war zones in Syria, Iraq and Marawi adds an extra dimension to the threat. Returnees will be battle-hardened and trained in combat, as well as possessing tactical know-how and in some cases bomb-making skills. At least 500 Indonesians have traveled to fight alongside ISIS in Syria and Iraq while more than 30 are thought to have participated in the Marawi conflict.
|Egypt court sentences 10 people to death in 'Imbaba Terrorist cell' case|
|[AlAhram] A Giza criminal court sentenced on Saturday 10 people to death in a case known in the media as the "Imbaba|
The court also sentenced five others to life imprisonment.
Saturday’s sentence comes after a preliminary death sentence issued by the court in late January pending the Grand Mufti’s non-binding opinion.
Referring death sentences to the Grand Mufti is a legal requirement before the sentenced is finalised, although the Mufti’s religious opinion is not binding.
The defendants were being tried for establishing an outlawed group from 2013 till March 2015 with the aim of attacking state institutions, harming national unity, targeting Copts, disturbing public order, endangering society, attacking police and security forces, and possessing unlicensed arms.
|Police arrest widow of Jemaah Islamiyah leader Marwan|
|[RAPPLER] The widow of notorious Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leader Marwan has been on Sunday, February 25, the Philippine National Police announced.|
Juromee Dongon was arrested by police operatives in an operation in Tubod, Lanao del Norte early Sunday morning.
Dongon was married to a of the notorious kidnap-for-ransom group, Khadaffy Janjalani. After his death in 2006 she married Malaysian bombmaker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, who was killed in 2015 in the Philippines, police said.
Aside from Dongon, arrested were her sister Lorilie Atta y Dongon and SPO4 Andy Atta, Lorilie's husband.
Confiscated from the 3 were:
One fragmentation grenade
6 blasting caps
One blasting cap assembly
One electric detonating cord
One non-electric detonating cord
One plastic container
Two sling bags
One 9mm Glock 17 pistol issued by the PNP
3 magazines for the Glock 17 pistol
37 live ammunition for the 9mm pistol
"[Dongon] assists, associates, networks and supports terrorist groups," regional police Superintendent Lemuel Gonda told Agence -Presse.
"Juromee is linked with Abu Sayyaf during the time of Janjalani and then later Jemaah Islamiyah," he added, referring to a Southeast Asian group.
Marwan was a leading member of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and a suspect in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people as well as in two deadly Philippine attacks.
He died in a raid in the southern Philippines that also left 44 police commandos dead. The US had offered a $5 million bounty for him.
Father of Romeo Dongon arrested
In a separate operation, cops also arrested Romeo Dongon, alias "Faisal" at Sitio Tinago, San Juan, Baroy, Lanao del Norte, and found illegal firearms in his possession. Dongon's daughter Norein Dongon Santos was also arrested.
Romeo Dongon is the father of Renierlo Dongon, who was the terrorist who had a love affair with a police official, Superintendent Cristina Nobleza. It can be recalled that Nobleza and Dongon were arrested back in April 2017, when the two attempted to evade capture during a police operation against the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol. (READ: Cop detained over alleged plot to rescue ASG in Bohol)
The team was composed of operatives from the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Special Action Force, provincial and municipal cops.
Cops seized the following from the house:
One Colt MK1V .45 caliber pistol
One magazine of caliber .45 bullets
3 pieces of caliber .45 cartridges
One M61 fragmentation hand grenade
One gray empty blasting cup
One two-feet yellow detonating cord
Cops also confiscated a Samsung tablet, a Lenovo laptop with a handbag case, a 4 mobile phones, and two electrical wires.
Dongon family's terror links
An exclusive report by Rappler's Maria Ressa back in April revealed that the Dongon family is no stranger to controversial terror-linked marriages.
Zainab Dongon, another Dongon daughter, was the wife of Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan. Zainab had also married the brother of Abu Sayyaf founder Abdujarak Janjalani, Khadaffy Janjalani, who was killed by government forces.
Another sister, Aminah, married Jainal Antel Sali, also known as Abu Solaiman. A 41-year-old civil engineer, he was Khadaffy Janjalani's deputy.
Romeo Dongon's wife, Judith Dongon, was arrested with Renierlo and Nobleza in the April 2017 incident in Clarin, Bohol.
Norein herself is apparently the wife of Ahmad Santos, the founder and leader of the Rajah Solaiman Movement until his arrest in 2005.
They have been put under the custody of the CIDG, which handles high-level suspects and criminals.
|‘No direct link’ between Daesh leaders and Indonesian militants, says terror expert|
|[ARABNEWS] There are no direct links between Indonesian and the leadership of in Syria, an Indonesian terrorism expert said on Tuesday.|
Taufik Andrie, executive director of the Institute for International Peace Building in Jakarta, was speaking during a meeting about changes in the global terrorism network and the impact those changes have had on extremism in Indonesia.
He said that attacks by self-proclaimed -affiliated in Indonesia "were not always related to , or even to Bahrun Naim or Aman Abdurrahman," referencing an Indonesian believed to be fighting for in Syria and a convicted radical who led a -affiliated network from his prison cell.
"There has never been a direct link between in Syria with those who claimed to be affiliated with the group here," Andrie said. "Most of those so-called acknowledgements were self-proclaimed.
"If we follow the money trail, there has been little financial support coming in from Syria to Indonesia for terrorism activities," he told Arab News.
Andrie said that remnants of the Southeast Asian network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) ‐ outlawed in Indonesia since 2008 ‐ still remain, with a clear organizational structure and key figures implementing their strategies.
Nasir Abbas, a former who is now known as a de-radicalization activist, said the group now operates anonymously, but still works toward the same goals using a mixture of preaching and violence.
"They are still on the move, but they don’t put a name on their organization. They use a strategy, unlike other who think that they are waging war by being lone wolves," said Abbas, adding that other groups were now emulating JI by putting a solid structure in place.
"They would try to settle in a small region and strengthen their base, preaching to the locals about their intention to establish a caliphate and making the locals believe in their propaganda," he explained.
Abbas said the conflict-torn southern Philippines remains the go-to destination for Southeast Asian returning to the region after joining in the Middle East. He claimed they pass through the porous sea and land borders from Indonesia’s North Kalimantan province to Malaysia’s Sabah state before entering the Philippines in "It’s the preferred trail because there is a chain of small islands in the Sulu Sea and there are a lot of separatist groups there, which means there is an abundant supply of guns and ammunition," he said.
Nava Nuraniyah, an analyst at the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) in Jakarta, said there has been little change in the role of women in groups, particularly in Indonesian and Filipino organizations.
"Very few of them have become combatants. When they do, the reason is usually self-empowerment," she told Arab News. "But most of them play the role of financier, treasurer and recruiter. They manage the money because they are housewives who are also entrepreneurs," she explained.
|[PHILSTAR] The Department of Justice has started processing a request from its US counterpart for the extradition of a physician in connection with a jihadist plot to attack several targets in New York. Russell Salic, according to the US Justice Department, described the Philippines as "a breeding ground for terrorists."|
The statement is not entirely an empty boast. Foreign governments have raised concern about the growth of Islamist extremism in the Philippines and its Southeast Asian neighbors particularly Indonesia and Malaysia. The man convicted of organizing the first attack on the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, in which a truck bomb was set off beneath the North Tower in February 1993, plotted the attack partly in Manila. Al Qaeda chieftain ’s brother-in-law was suspected of using an in Mindanao for terrorist financing.
Today the military is battling Maute linked to the in Marawi. With ISIS on the run from its former strongholds in Iraq and Syria, there are concerns that the group may try to relocate to Southeast Asia, where the Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah operates together with the and the The Philippine government must reassure the world that this will not happen. Salic, according to the US Justice Department, had reportedly said terror laws in the Philippines are "not strict" compared to countries such as Australia and the UK.
"Terrorists from all over the world usually come here as a breeding ground for ... hahahaha... But no worry here in Philippines. They dont care bout IS ... Only in west," Salic was quoted as saying.
Salic is not entirely off the mark; JI bomb makers have conducted training in Mindanao, and several foreign jihadis have been killed in the fighting in Marawi. The Philippines has a law against terrorism, but it includes safeguards against violations so stringent that law enforcers can go to prison for many years even for honest mistakes.
Not surprisingly, the Human Security Act has remained largely unenforced. It needs a review by Congress if the terrorist threat is to be contained. All countries face the threat of terrorism these days. What sets countries apart ‐ and reassures citizens, foreign travelers and investors ‐ is the state’s capability to deal with the threat. The Philippines cannot afford to be found wanting.
|The foreign factor in Mindanao crisis|
As background, the Maute group, also known as the IS-Ranao, which figured prominently in the Marawi siege, is a radical Islamist group composed of former guerrillas of the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guand some . The group is led by Abdullah Maute, the alleged founder of a Dawlah Islamiya, or based in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines. The group already figured in a clash with Army troops in February 2016 that ended with the capture of their headquarters in Butig, Lanao del Sur. The group is thought to have over 100 members and was supplied with equipment by a foreign terrorist. They are said to be affiliated with Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian Islamist terror group.
|37 members of Maute, Jemaah Islamiyah, killed in Lanao clashes|
Ground and air strikes against the terror group began early morning on April 22 in Barangay Gacap, in the town of Piagapo in Lanao del Sur, said Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief General Eduardo Año, in a chance interview with s.
Among those killed were members of the local Maute group, and three Indonesians and one Malaysian who were members of Jemaah Islamiyah, an Indonesia-based terror group with links to Al Qaeda, Año said.
The military believes Maute members obtained their long firearms from an Indonesian terrorist affiliated with Jemaah Islamiyah.
After nearly three days of fighting, government troops seized the Maute group's "main camp" in Piagapo on Monday, the military added.
Authorities recovered a flag with ISIS insignia, rifle and fragmentation grenades, other items used for making explosives, cellphones, and camouflage uniforms, said Lt. Gen Carlito Galvez, chief of the military's Western Mindanao Command, in a press briefing on Monday.
A passport belonging to an Indonesian national was also recovered, he said.
|Two Abu Sayyaf leaders killed in Lanao del Sur clashes|
Military chief of staff Eduardo Año said three Indonesians and a Malaysian, believed to be members of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror group, were among 37 militants who were killed in the assault. He said 14 of the dead had been identified, but did not name any of the slain foreigners or armed men.
Rolando Joselito Bautista said among those killed was Abu Imam Bantayaw, an Abu Sayyaf leader based in this town; and a subcommander identified only as Mael, who was killed and buried here on Sunday night. Bautista said one of those slain, believed to be a foreigner, was buried in a bomb crater.
Troops have also recovered the passport of an Indonesian national from the clash site in Barangay Gacap, he said.
Military spokesman Nixon Fortes said there would be no letup in operations against the Maute group, which had established a new camp in Piagapo. The area is just five kilometers from Camp Pukta of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front faction led by Abdullah Macapaar, alias Kumander Bravo, according to Fortes.
Año, in an interview on Tuesday, said the four were among the 130 foreigners living in Mindanao who are thought to be supporting local Abu Sayyaf militants. He said mopping-up operations were ongoing as soldiers tried to locate Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.
|Senior Abu Sayyaf leader wants to surrender|
|[PNA] A senior Philippine military official disclosed that Abu Sayyaf one-armed and top leader Radullan Sahiron plans to surrender to the government. Westmincom spokesman Carlito Galvez said, "Radullan Sahiron is contemplating to surrender because he is old."|
Galvez said that one of the conditions of Sahiron is for the government "not to turn him over to the U.S. government" when he turns himself in. The FBI has set a million reward for the capture of Sahiron.
Sahiron is the leading figure in the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu province after most of the founding Abu Sayyaf leaders were killed.
Galvez said, "We see that not only those in the lower ranks of the ASG are expressing their desire to surrender because they’realready feeling the heat of the military operation. And they also feel the sincerity of the President to accept people who wanted to surrender."
Galvez said they were employing non-lethal approaches in dealing with the Abu Sayyaf, including a rehabilitation program. He said they are replicating this approach from their military counterparts in Indonesia and Malaysia. Galvez said the same tactic was used in "decimating" the networks of the Jemaah Islamiyah.
On Thursday, Galvez presented to the local media the 11 Abu Sayyaf rebels, including two sub-leaders, who surrendered to the government in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. Ben Saudi Sariol, one of the 11 surrenderers, said they decided to turn themselves in to the military as the offensive against the Abu Sayyaf have intensified in recent months.
"We just want a peaceful life. We want our children to go to school, and earn a decent living. We feel much safer now," Sariol said in Tausug dialect. Ben, along with his father Berong Sariol and nine other relatives, surrendered to the troops on Tuesday night. They also surrendered their firearms to the military.
|Hunt for IS militant Mohamad Wanndy intensifies|
|[THESTAR.MY] KUALA LUMPUR: The hunt for notorious (IS) Mohamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi will be further intensified following his inclusion in the global terror watch list, says Comm Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.|
The Bukit Aman Special Branch department director said the Royal Malaysia Police, especially the Counter Terrorism Division will work closely with their American counterparts in hunting Mohamad Wanndy.
"He (Mohamad Wanndy) has been the behind several terror plots in Malaysia, including the bombing at the Movida nightclub.
"He has also been actively recruiting more Malaysian for IS. This inclusion in the global watch list will definitely boost efforts to hunt him down," he said yesterday.
While Mohamad Wanndy’s inclusion in the watch list by US authorities was welcomed, Comm Mohamad Fuzi said Bukit Aman had already placed him in its own wanted list for the past two years.
"We are aware of the crucial role Mohamad Wanndy has played in attempting to launch attacks on home soil despite being in Syria," he said.
"Currently, he is one of the most influential Malaysian in IS."
The Star reported last year that Mohamad Wanndy was high on Bukit Aman’s wanted list, having spearheaded more than three terror plots in Malaysia.
the Counter Terrorism Division has been vigilant and alert in quelling his plans for terror attacks in the country.
Sources said that while Mohamad Wanndy was the "puppet master" behind terror activities in Malaysia, he had amassed at least RM100,000 within a short time to settle personal debts and cover his expenses in Syria.
"The from Durian Tunggal is content with issuing orders for followers to execute attacks, including suicide s, without getting his own hands dirty," a source said.
On a separate matter, Comm Mohamad Fuzi said actions taken against Siti Noor Aishah Atam, 30, was justified. She is in Kajang Prison after the Court of Appeal reversed her acquittal over charges of having 12 publications relating to terrorism.
She was a Kolej Universiti Insaniah (Kedah) graduate who was continuing her Masters in Islamic Studies at Universiti Malaya when she was in March last year under Sosma for having books on Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda.
On Sept 29 last year, she was acquitted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court but was re-arrested under the Prevention of Crime Act for allegedly importing IS flags into the country.
"We will not compromise against IS as well as sympathisers and supporters. We have enough credible evidence," Comm Mohamad Fuzi said.
"Safety and security is our priority," he said, in dismissing allegations by the Terengganu native’s family over miscarriage of justice in Siti Noor Aishah’s case.
"We also discovered that she was a student of wanted Dr Mahmud Ahmad, who has fled to southern Philippines.
"We won’t take such drastic action if the evidence is not sufficient," he said.
|Conviction of 2 Indonesians in 2003 airport blast|
|[RAPPLER] MANILA, Philippines ‐ The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the murder conviction of two Indonesian involved in the bombing of the Awang Airport in Manguindanao in 2003.|
In a March 30 ruling, the CA’s Former Special Sixteenth Division affirmed the decision issued by the Pasig City Regional Trial Court, which sentenced Zulkifli Julkifli alias Ahmad Faisal and Taufiq Rifqi, to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years of imprisonment.
The two, members of the notorious Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM), were found guilty of murder with double attempted murder for the bombing of the airport located in Barangay Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao. The February 2003 incident killed Sgt. Nelson Corpuz and injured several others.
The RSM also worked with Jemaah Islamiyah and the on the Superferry bombing in 2004 and the Valentine’s Day bombings in 2005. (READ: 9/11 and the Black Flag movement)
"The Court finds no compelling ground to disturb the factual findings of the RTC. As herein before pronounced, the rule is well-settled that factual findings of the trial court regarding the credibility of witnesses are accorded great weight and utmost respect given that trial courts have first hand observation of the witnesses’ demeanor while testifying in court," the CA said in a 23-page decision penned by Associate Justice Marie Christine Azcarraga-Jacob.
The appellate court also increase the moral damages due to the heirs of Corpuz from P50,000 to P75,000.