Perhaps symbolically, as al-Qaeda-linked jihadists tend to pay attention to that sort of thing, in a city called Isabela. On the other hand, they do like their slaughter wherever they can inflict it. “15 killed in Philippines attacks,” from Agence France-Presse, April 13 (thanks to Dumbledoresarmy):
Al Qaeda-linked militants in police uniforms set off bombs and fired at civilians on a strife-torn Philippine island in violence that left 15 people dead.
The gunmen targeted a government office and a church in Isabela city on Basilan island with two home-made bombs, in the latest show of force from the Abu Sayyaf network that is blamed for the worst attacks in the Philippines.
Isabela city mayor Cherry Akbar told reporters that 15 people were confirmed dead, including five militants who were apparently killed by one of their own bomb blasts.
Six civilians were also killed in the explosions, while three soldiers and one policeman were killed in gunbattles with the militants, Ms Akbar said.
At least 25 militants wearing police uniforms were involved in the attacks, according to the region’s military chief, Lieutenant General Ben Dolorfino.
They sprayed bullets at terrified civilians scrambling away to safety, and engaged in a gunbattle with security forces on the outskirts of Isabela that lasted for at least three hours, according to various military chiefs.
“We have to take control and assure the people that we are on top of the situation,” Sabban said as the fighting was ongoing.
“All we know right is that our marines right now are under fire.”
Isabela, an impoverished island of nearly 500,000 people, is part of the southern Philippines’ Mindanao region where the Abu Sayyaf and other Muslim rebel groups are fighting for an independent homeland.
Hundreds of US troops have been stationed on Mindanao since the end of 2001 to train and equip the Filipino military to combat the Abu Sayyaf….