Philippines concerned over 'emerging' terror threat

Indonesian security troopers standing guard after a bomb blast in front of a shopping mall in Jakarta on Jan 14, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

MANILA (AFP) - Philippine security forces expressed concern over an "emerging threat" of terrorism, after suicide attackers struck the Indonesian capital on Thursday (Jan 14).

Police said five suspects and two civilians were killed, while 10 other people were injured, after a series of explosions and gunfire tore through a Starbucks cafe in Jakarta and shook an embassy district.

The identities of the attackers have yet to be established.

"Our security forces are well aware of the emerging threat and have been conducting operations to prevent terror acts anywhere in the country," said a joint Philippine military and police statement on the Jakarta incident.

Military spokesman Colonel Restituto Padilla told AFP there had been no recent specific threats picked up by the authorities in the Philippines.

However, he said the police and military forces continued to monitor the "usual threats from local terrorist groups, such as the BIFF and ASG". The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), blamed for many of the Catholic nation's deadliest bombings, as well as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) Muslim guerrillas, have pledged allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters.

The military has said both groups had in the past sheltered foreign militants fleeing prosecution for the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia.

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