Tuesday, May 24, 2011

JI's presence being monitored

By Alexis Romero
Philippine Star, Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Marines stand on the deck of the BRP Emilio Liwanag during the 113th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Navy yesterday. The refurbished gunboat will be deployed to Zamboanga to boost internal security operations. Photo By JONJON VICENCIO

MANILA, Philippines - Security forces are closely monitoring the movements of three members of terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and are bracing for possible military action against them.

Marine Brig. Gen. Romeo Tanalgo, commander of the Sulu-based 2nd Marine brigade, said they have managed to restrict the movements of the terrorists.

“We are closely monitoring the activities of the three JI members for possible military action,” Tanalgo said on the sidelines of the 113th anniversary of the Navy in Manila.

He said one of the JI members believed to be in the south is Marwan, whose real name is Zulkifli Bin Hir. Marwan, reportedly a member of the JI’s central command, has a $5 million bounty for his capture.

Tanalgo did not identify the two other JI members believed to be operating in Mindanao. He said they are continuously stepping up their anti-terror operations to thwart the plans of lawless groups.

Meanwhile, the Navy sent off yesterday its newly refurbished ship BRP Emilio Liwanag to boost its internal security operations.

The ship, which was provided by the South Korean Navy in 2006, will be deployed to Zamboanga and other critical areas, Navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said.

It is expected to provide support to Marine forces deployed in the south, in line with the so-called Fleet Marine concept. This concept seeks to enhance the interoperability among Navy troops.

Pama said the deployment would intensify the drive against the Abu Sayyaf and other security threats in the country.

“It would be all-inclusive. It is for the ISO (internal security operations). If positioned in the south, this (ship) would support the Fleet Marine concept,” he said.

The military has vowed to remain vigilant despite the death of Osama bin Laden, the founder of international terror group al-Qaeda, which has links to JI and the Abu Sayyaf. 

Bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 US attack, was slain by US Navy Seals in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Some sectors have raised concerns that bin Laden’s death could prod his supporters to launch retaliatory attacks. Military officials, however, have given assurance that they are ready to repel such atrocities.

Earlier reports said Saif al-Adel, a former Egyptian military officer, will serve as interim leader of the al-Qaeda until bin Laden’s successor has been named. Al-Adel is reportedly connected with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the group tagged in the killing of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Philippine defense officials are unfazed by the new al-Qaeda leader as they vowed to enhance intelligence gathering to ensure that the Philippines would remain safe.

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