BEIRUT, Lebanon – A spokesman for the Islamic State (ISIS) group praised terror attacks in the Philippines and Iran, in an audio recording broadcast on Tuesday, June 13.
The recording broadcast by jihadist accounts on social networks was part of a general appeal to extremists around the world to continue their attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (READ: PH military asks Facebook to close terrorist accounts)
Thousands of Philippine troops are battling hundreds of terrorists who overran the southern city on May 23, flying black ISIS flags and using civilians as human shields. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has vowed not to let the terrorists succeed. (READ: AFP chief Año details aborted Maute-ISIS 'grand plan' in Marawi)
Fierce fighting in the city has left a total of 58 soldiers and police and more than 20 civilians dead, according to the military which estimates that almost 200 terrorists have been killed. Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said 8 of the killed terrorists were foreigners and are considered ISIS members.
Soldiers have taken the bridges going into Banggolo, the business district battered by the clashes, but there are still trapped civilians. (READ: Trapped Marawi residents dying of hunger?)
In August 2016, Duterte had also said that ISIS followers were radicalizing Filipinos in some parts of Mindanao.
The ISIS spokesman also congratulated the perpetrators of last week's attacks in Iran.
Seventeen people were killed and dozens wounded when armed men and suicide bombers attacked Tehran's parliament complex and the shrine of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on June 7, the first strikes claimed by the group in Iran.
The 5 attackers were killed.
Mouhajer urged "caliphate soldiers" to continue their actions during Ramadan in Iraq and Syria. (READ: Ramadan begins for world's Muslims, violently for some)
He also called for attacks in Europe, America, Australia, Russia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. (READ: ISIS planning more attacks in PH and region – terror expert) – with reports from Carmela Fonbuena & Pia Ranada / Rappler.com