Islamic State’s Filipino affiliate announced its formation by beheading three non-believers, swearing allegiance to ISIS leader Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi, and telling would-be terrorists, “If you can’t get to Syria, ‘join the mujahideen in the Philippines.'”
An ISIS spokesman in the video identified as Abu Oun al-Malysi called on all Muslims to, “kill the polytheists, hit them with cars. You have knives, stab them in their chests.” After nearly 20 minutes of speeches and similar rhetoric, three men of apparent Middle Eastern descent have their heads cut off with small knives.
On June 12, according to the Long War Journal, ISIS released an infographic where it claims “289 Filipino troops have been killed by Islamic State forces since April 2015, including 100 alone in April 2016.” The Filipino government denies the claims and denounced them as propaganda. The infographic also claimed an ISIS presence in five areas across the Philippines, bolstered by allegiances to ISIS by several local Islamic militias.
The declaration comes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which, according to the Institute for the Study of War, ISIS has traditionally used to “push the boundaries of its caliphate contiguous to non-Muslim lands.” The think tank also forecasted the possible declaration of an ISIS affiliate in Bangladesh, where affiliated militants have recently targeted non-Muslim priests.
The Filipino affiliate is reportedly headed by Filipino citizen Isnilon Hapilon. Hapilon is a U.S. designated terrorist and former head of al-Qaida’s Filipino branch, Abu Sayaf. After Hapilon defected to ISIS, it dubbed him Abu Abdullah al Filipini and appointed him as the head of all ISIS fighters inside the Philippines.
Earlier this month, al-Qaida’s affiliate Abu Sayaf beheaded Canadian citizen Robert Hall after the Canadian government refused to pay a ransom for him. The Philippines is a predominantly Christian country, but has had problems with extremist Islamic militant groups for years.
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