Manila police issues highest terror alert following bomb attacks on President Duterte
Philippines capital Manila was placed on its highest terror alert for the first time in 16 years after the police arrested two alleged members of an Islamic terror group near U.S Embassy on Monday.
Director General Ronald dela Rosa told reporters that the security alert had been upped to Level 3 on Thursday, adding that checkpoints and security around public places would be enhanced. He also announced of more police raids in pursuit of terror suspects.
Monday’s attempted bombing is considered as a retaliation to the stepped up military moves against extremist groups in the southern island of Mindanao. A bomb struck the advance security team of President Rodrigo Duterte in Mindano, injuring seven team members and two soldiers. Duterte went ahead with his visit on Wednesday without any injuries.
The nabbed people were described as members of the recently formed Ansar al-Khalifa, a group which is making attempts to get recognition from Islamic State. Police described the detainees as “persons of interest,” and said it was unknown whether they have lawyers. They still have not charged with any crime.
Hundreds of jihadis from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Muslim-dominated southern Philippines have joined Islamic State, and homegrown extremist groups have sworn their allegiance to it. Mr Duterte, since taking his office in June. started negotiations with large Muslim rebel groups, but has declined to talk with other groups, including Maute and the better-known Abu Sayyaf.
It was in 2000 when the capital announced Level 3 terror alert last, following multiple bomb attacks on that year, December 30. The bombings left 22 people dead and were blamed on Islamic terror groups.