Philippines dismisses ISIS claims of killing 100 soldiers
Apr 14, 2016 03:37 AM EDT
The Philippines rejected the claims made by the Islamic State that its militants killed dozens of government troops in ambushes. The government said that it is pure propaganda and that there was no evidence linking the southern Muslim rebels to the group.
CNN reported that the terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for the recent clashes between Abu Sayyaf and the Philippine Army in Basilan. ISIS released a statement saying they were able to detonate seven trucks carrying soldiers with the grace of god. However, reports cannot verify the authenticity of this statement.
General Restituto Padilla, AFP's spokesperson, told the media on April 14 that contrary to what the Islamic militants reportedly claimed, there were no trucks exploded due to bombings during the clash.
According to International Business Times, the AFP fought a 10-hour battle around 120 Muslim militants. The mission is to capture or kill Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, an infamous rebel for whom the US State Department has offered a bounty of $5 million.
A US-based group that tracks the online activity of jihadi terror groups reported that ISIS claimed responsibility for killing nearly 100 Philippine soldiers. The country has reported 46 individuals killed in action this week. Gen. Restituto said there were many "gaps and inconsistencies", adding that the army lost 18 soldiers, but killed 28 rebels since fighting began, reports Reuters.
Abu Sayyaf, a small but violent militant group known for beheadings, bombings, kidnappings, and extortion, has posted videos on social media pledging allegiance to ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The terror group has attracted foreign fighters from North Africa, Middle East, and Southeast Asia to the trouble south of the Philippines.
The Philippine army is still looking for concrete proof to make a link between ISIS and Abu Sayyaf; but based on the ongoing assessment, there is no direct link so far. Media groups and several experts criticized the government for handling the encounter with the Abu Sayyaf, claiming that the army repeatedly underestimated the militant group.