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Iran Press TV

Philippines arrests suspected former leader of Daesh

Iran Press TV

Mon Feb 19, 2018 02:46PM

Philippine police have arrested a suspected former leader of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group during a raid on his apartment in the capital Manila.

Fehmi Lassoued, an Egyptian national, was arrested along with a female suspect last week, Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa said on Monday.

Lassoued, who had a fake Tunisian passport, is believed to have operated for Daesh along the Syrian and Turkish border and had traveled between the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia over the past two years.

His female companion, identified as Anabel Moncera Salipada, is from the Philippines' restive southern regions, where the government has been waging an all-out war on militants over the past year.

Dela Rosa said an investigation had been launched to determine any possible links between the two suspects and homegrown and foreign terrorist groups.

Lassoued was brought to the police headquarters Monday in an orange detainee shirt while handcuffed and escorted by soldiers. Bomb-making materials and other evidence confiscated from him that could show his alleged links to Daesh, including a flag similar to that of the terrorist group, were put on display.

Dela Rosa said authorities were probing whether Lassoued had acted as a recruiter for Daesh. The official would not offer any evidence for the suspicion.

For a number of years, the Philippines has been plagued by a large-scale militant campaign in its southern regions. The military managed to crush more than five months of Daesh insurgency in the city of Marawi last year after killing some 1,100 militants.

The siege of Marawi displaced hundreds of thousands of villagers and caused huge concerns that Daesh, a group that has almost been obliterated in Iraq and Syria, could gain a foothold in the Southeast Asian country.

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