Islamic State radicals destroy and torch church in Mindanao (video)

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Members of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group who are holding the southern Philippine city of Marawi on Mindanao under siege have begun destroying churches in the area.

A video published by the Amaq News Agency – a news outlet directly linked to the extremist group – shows how the jihadists desecrate the church by smashing a Christ sculpture and other Christian relics, tearing down a picture of Pope Francis and then setting the entire building on fire in what can be described best as an iconoclastic riot.

There are also reports that IS fighters forced conversions of Christian residents to the Muslim faith in the predominately Sunni city of Marawi, much like earlier IS procedures in Iraq.

The city once was home to 200,000 Filipinos, but is now mostly abandoned, with about 2,000 citizens still trapped in the area. It is the first time ever that ISIS is challenging territorial control of the Philippine authorities. Around 180 people have fallen victim to the armed conflict which began on May 23 and still rages on.

Politicians and anti-terror experts in the region have expressed concerns that IS’s territorial claims could spread further and beyond the Philippine borders. Given these increasing threat, increased cooperation among countries has been urged.

Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia will launch joint patrols on June 19 in waters off the Mindanao coast to better control the porous borders supported by air patrols which will start at a later date, and intelligence authorities of the three countries have said they will closely monitor the movement of radicals and control their borders tighter.

The US, UK and Australia, all active in the alliance against IS in Syria – pledged support for the Philippines in combating IS.

Meanwhile, Indonesian military intelligence said that is has information that around 1,200 IS fighters were operating in the Philippines, a number denied by the Philippines army for lack of proof.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Members of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group who are holding the southern Philippine city of Marawi on Mindanao under siege have begun destroying churches in the area.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Members of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group who are holding the southern Philippine city of Marawi on Mindanao under siege have begun destroying churches in the area.

A video published by the Amaq News Agency – a news outlet directly linked to the extremist group – shows how the jihadists desecrate the church by smashing a Christ sculpture and other Christian relics, tearing down a picture of Pope Francis and then setting the entire building on fire in what can be described best as an iconoclastic riot.

There are also reports that IS fighters forced conversions of Christian residents to the Muslim faith in the predominately Sunni city of Marawi, much like earlier IS procedures in Iraq.

The city once was home to 200,000 Filipinos, but is now mostly abandoned, with about 2,000 citizens still trapped in the area. It is the first time ever that ISIS is challenging territorial control of the Philippine authorities. Around 180 people have fallen victim to the armed conflict which began on May 23 and still rages on.

Politicians and anti-terror experts in the region have expressed concerns that IS’s territorial claims could spread further and beyond the Philippine borders. Given these increasing threat, increased cooperation among countries has been urged.

Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia will launch joint patrols on June 19 in waters off the Mindanao coast to better control the porous borders supported by air patrols which will start at a later date, and intelligence authorities of the three countries have said they will closely monitor the movement of radicals and control their borders tighter.

The US, UK and Australia, all active in the alliance against IS in Syria – pledged support for the Philippines in combating IS.

Meanwhile, Indonesian military intelligence said that is has information that around 1,200 IS fighters were operating in the Philippines, a number denied by the Philippines army for lack of proof.

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