MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s is reportedly “on the radar of the Islamic State” because of his repeated vows to wipe out extremist groups linked to the terror organization, a newspaper in India, where he is visiting, said.
Duterte and fellow leaders of Association of Southeast Asian Nations members are the guests at India’s Republic Day celebrations.
India’s “ThePrint” newspaper quoted unnamed security sources as saying an intelligence alert had been issued because of the supposed threat to Duterte by IS, which is also called ISIS, which had reportedly mobilized Indonesia-based “sleeper cells” following the death of Isnilon Hapilon, the group’s “emir” in Southeast Asia.
The paper quoted a source as saying: “Duterte is coming with baggage, as he has been very vocal about wiping out IS. The Indonesian President too will be present, and could also be a target. We have intelligence inputs that the IS has mobilized its people and is planning to strike.”
The presence of so many heads of state at one location would also make terrorist groups “see this as a chance to strike and send out a message,” another source quoted by ThePrint said.
But Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said he was “unmoved” and “will not cower to threats from ISIS nor any other terrorist groups, even as he noted that Indian security agencies and the Presidential Security Group had taken “all precautions.”