Philippines: December 1, 2003


The government says that Jemaah Islamiyah, the Southeast Asian branch of the al Qaeda network, has at least 31 members in the southern Philippines. Here, they are training MILF rebels in bomb making and terrorist techniques. The government has captured MILF who were involved with the increasing number of terror bombings that have occurred in the last year. Such bombings are a new MILF weapon, and it was long suspected that the rebels were inspired by some outside influence. Prisoner interrogations and captured documents and bomb making materials have led the government to conclude that the MILF is now supporting al Qaeda. The MILF has always been based on driving Christians out of the southern Philippines and establishing an Islamic state in that region. Al Qaeda calls for converting the world to Islam and killing all who resist, so there are some shared goals between MILF and al Qaeda. 


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