Death of Al-Baghdadi ‘severe blow’ to terror groups worldwide – DND, AFP

Published October 28, 2019, 1:57 PM

by Rica Arevalo

By Martin Sadongdong

The Department of National Defense (DND) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) both renewed its commitment on Monday to defeat Daesh-inspired terrorist groups in the country following the reported death of Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Office of the Secretary of National Defense / MANILA BULLETIN)
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Office of the Secretary of National Defense / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said though that Baghdadi’s death was just a “momentary setback” for the militant group.

“I think this is a blow to the organization considering Al Baghdadi’s stature as a leader. But this is just a momentary setback considering the depth and reach of the organization worldwide,” Lorenzana stressed.

“Somebody will take his place to lead the ISIS. Maybe not as famous and well known,” he added.

Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, said the death of Baghdadi “undoubtedly dealt a severe blow [to] terrorist organizations around the globe.”

“We expect that his death will impact negatively on the leadership of terrorists in various parts of the world,” Arevalo said.

The AFP praised the United States government and all those who had a hand in the collective success, while it also remembered all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, not only in the Philippines but across the globe.

READ MORE: Trump says Islamic State leader dead after US raid in Syria

“The AFP will continue with our vigorous efforts to prevent or counter-terrorist extremists who continue to threaten our country,” Arevalo said.

According to US media, President Donald Trump announced on Sunday the death of Baghdadi in a night time raid by US special forces in the northwest province of Idlib in Syria.

Reports said he was with his three young children and running from US forces when he detonated his suicide jacket, killing them all.

In the Philippines, military officials and security experts said the Islamic State group has been trying to establish a base or a caliphate in the country.

Among the most recent affiliation of IS to local terrorist and extremist groups in the Philippines was the five-month-long siege in Marawi City, which was led by the Maute terrorist group and Abu Sayyaf Group.

“We will continue to defeat the Daesh-inspired groups from recruiting new members and exploiting the situation in the countryside — all in their futile attempt towards resurgence. We will build from our triumph in Marawi in frustrating ISIS move to establish a caliphate in our country,” Arevalo stressed.

He maintained that troops in the frontlines “remain on high alert to thwart possible attempts to ride on this development.”

“We continue our call on the public to stay alert and be actively involved in reporting to authorities any suspicious persons or activities in their localities. Vigilance will surely help security forces in our campaign to deny the ISIS foothold in our country,” Arevalo concluded.

READ MORE: Islamic State head Baghdadi believed dead after US strike