KOTA KINABALU (The Star/Asia News Network) - Two Malaysians are believed to be among 13 ISIS-linked militants killed in battles between the Philippine military and gunmen who have taken over Marawi City in the southern Philippine province of Mindanao.
Intelligence sources identified the Malaysians killed on Thursday (May 25) night as "Ustaz" Abdurahman Asmawi from Kelantan and Dr Kamsa Yahya from Kedah.
The sources said Indonesian Shei Ayman Marjuki and a Saudi Arabian, Sheikh Ahmad Belfaki, were also among the casualties in skirmishes at villages around Marawi, seen as the first city to be taken over by Islamis State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in South-East Asia.
Another Malaysian, former Universiti Malaya lecturer Dr Mahmud Ahmad is also in Marawi, where he is working with Basilan Abu Sayaff leader Isninon Hapilon to push for the creation of ISIS in the region.
The sources did not say how many other Malaysians who were linked to ISIS were in Marawi.
But they said the Filipino military was gaining ground in their drive to flush out the militants, estimated to number between 200 and 500.
In Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Aman has stepped up security nationwide in the wake of the terror attacks in the Philippines, Indonesia and Britain.
Bukit Aman Special Branch director Comm Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said measures had been taken to deter any attack, especially during the SEA Games and National Day celebrations.
"Both events are still some time away, but the police have already beefed up operations to collect intelligence.
"Recent attacks in Manchester and Jakarta, as well as the situation in the Philippines are very worrying," he said, adding that the police, especially its Counter-Terrorism Division, were working hard to prevent similar attacks.
"We are looking at all possible angles, including lone wolf attacks," he added.
Comm Mohamad Fuzi said all resources would be deployed to thwart any attempted attacks here.
"Terror threats must not be taken lightly. We must remain alert," he said.
Bukit Aman was also working with international agencies such as Interpol to identify foreign militants who might try to enter Malaysia, he added.