The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has released a short video, just over a minute and a half long, from Marawi. The so-called caliphate has previously disseminated photos from the southern Philippine city, but today’s video is the first posted by Amaq. Screen shots of the footage can be seen below.
The video depicts the Islamic State loyalists fighting on city streets and taking possession of abandoned armored vehicles. The dead bodies of Filipino troops can be seen in one of the vehicles.
The web site for Amaq News Agency is frequently taken offline, as authorities attempt to disrupt the jihadists’ propaganda machine. In recent weeks, Amaq has been relaunched at web addresses with “buzznews” in them. Of course, a popular news website in the US is BuzzFeed News. The short production from the Philippines was posted on one such Amaq site.
Separately, pro-Islamic State Telegram channels posted unofficial images from Marawi. One photo set, seen below, shows Christians being forcibly converted to Islam. Less than ten Christians convert in the presence of masked gunmen.
Another set of unofficial images, also seen below, appears to have been shot at the same location as Amaq’s video.
Earlier this week, Gen. Eduardo Ano, the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told the Associated Press that foreign fighters are buttressing the local jihadists’ ranks. According to the AP, “three Malaysians, an Indonesian and possibly Arab extremists have been killed” in the fighting.
The siege began on May 23 when the extremists, who have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State, infiltrated Marawi. The jihadists quickly began fighting local security forces, capturing buildings, and setting up checkpoints.
According to Filipino sources, the jihadists are led by Isnilon Hapilon, a US-designated global terrorist and former head of the al Qaeda-affiliated Abu Sayyaf Group . [See Threat Matrix report, Islamic State-loyal forces battle Filipino troops inside provincial capital.]
Images previously released by the Islamic State from Marawi showed gunmen patrolling the streets, holding checkpoints, and planting their notorious black banner. In addition, the self-declared caliphate has released several attack claims on behalf of the militants, including a statement concerning a prison assault and other clashes. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Islamic State loyalists continue takeover in southern Philippines.]
Screen shots from the Amaq News Agency video of the fighting in Marawi:
Photos posted on pro-Islamic State Telegram channels show Christians in Marawi converting to Islam:
Pro-Islamic Telegram channels separately posted these images from Marawi. The photos appear to have been shot in some of the same locations as Amaq’s video: