Thursday, April 9, 2015

US Wages ''War on Terror'' in the Philippines

Although Islamic State regularly captures global headlines, the so-called fight against ''terrorism'' is not just confined to the Middle East. The United States quietly maintains other fronts in the War on Terror - including the Philippines.

Last January, Filipino police from the elite Special Action Force (SAF) - a Philippine SWAT-style police unit that's modeled off the British Army Special Air Service (SAS) - entered Tukanalipao, a small enclave in the Mamasapano municipality, in the southwestern part of the Philippines' Mindanao island. Their goal was to arrest two suspected terrorists who were on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist List with hefty US bounties on their heads - Zulkifli bin Hir (also known as Marwan), a Malaysian national, bomb maker and leader of the Southeast Asian Islamic militant group Jemaah Islamiya; and Abdul Basit Usman, a Filipino rebel and bomb-making expert aligned with Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah. Neither of these men were members of al-Qaeda, and there is little evidence suggesting their involvement in terrorist plots against the US. Marwan was killed in the operation, and his finger severed and sent to the FBI to confirm his identity.


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