ISIS-backed terrorists in Philippines tourist kidnap plot


Manila - Terrorists are planning to kidnap foreigners on a Philippine island popular with tourists, the USA embassy has warned, a month after a foiled abduction attempt by Islamic militants at another tourism hotspot.

The Embassy also reminded U.S. citizens of its recent "worldwide caution", issued on March 6, which indicated "an ongoing threat of terrorist actions and violence against United States citizens and interests overseas, including the Philippines".

PHILIPPINES military officials downplayed a travel alert for Palawan Province issued by the US Embassy on Wednesday, insisting the island paradise and popular tourist haunt remains safe for both locals and foreign nationals.

The warning specifically mentions Puerto Princesa City, and the areas surrounding Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.

The Abu Sayyaf last month attempted a kidnapping raid on Bohol island, a popular tourist destination in the central Philippines, but were foiled after authorities became aware of the plot.

A fierce gun battle followed in which nine militants, three soldiers and one policeman were killed, according to authorities. "Now, with additional information, once verified, we will make the necessary announcement and necessary security measures if and when these information are validated already", the police spokesman said.

The two terror groups obviously want to stage their disgusting kidnaping operations and sow terror in popular tourist spots to raise ransom money in the case of the Abu Sayyaf, and score a propaganda point in the case of ISIS.

The group also raided a resort in Puerto Princesa's Honda Bay in 2001, abducting three Americans and 17 Filipinos.

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The Abu Sayyaf has also kidnapped people from Malaysian coastal resorts, which are a short speedboat ride from its southern Philippine bases.

The embassy then reminded US citizens of the recent Worldwide Caution, dated March 6, that warned about an "ongoing threat of terrorist actions and violence against USA citizens and interests overseas, including the Philippines".

Fresh advisories from the Canadian and British embassies on Wednesday that backed up the American warning about Palawan also referred to tourist hotspots in the central Philippines near Bohol. "We really talked to them for us to work together in order that terrorists could not penetrate us here", he said.

The Foreign Office warns that terrorists are "very likely to try to carry out attacks" in the Philippines and lists several groups capable of operating throughout the country.

'We have a problem with terrorism.

The Abu Sayyaf and other militant groups have in recent years pledged allegiance to IS.

Nevertheless, the army's Western Command (Wescom) said that local security forces will remain vigilant following the Tuesday warning.

"All units and assets are being utilized to ensure maximum security to deny any terrorist group's entry and access in the high seas and coastal areas", he added.