ISIS released a video urging jihadists to travel to the Philippines instead of Syria or Iraq, a move seen as a shift in strategy that focuses on Asia as the terror group loses ground in the Middle East, The Daily Caller reports.
In the video, a terrorist instructs, “Come forth to the land of jihad. Perform hijrah. Come forth to … Marawi.”
The extremist group is using videos and social media to recruit fighters to fight in Marawi, a city in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao besieged by the ISIS-linked Maute Group earlier this year.
U.S. officials believe the Philippines’ southern region is the best destination for Islamic militants due to its decades-long insurgency by Muslim separatists against government forces.
“We already see elements of ISIS in the Philippines, as you’re aware, gaining a foothold,” said State Secretary Tillerson during an Aug. 1 press conference.
“We are in conversations with the Philippine government, with Indonesia, with Malaysia, with Singapore, with Australia, as partners to recognize this threat, try to get ahead of this threat,” he added.