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ICC Note: According to US counter-terrorism officials, IS has a history of partnering with militant groups around the world. Therefore, they fear the Islamic State jihadists expanding into Southeast Asia by joining forces with local extremists. Therefore, the US is working closely with the regions’ governments to prevent the rise of new IS affiliates, especially at a group level. Earlier this month, Indonesian police arrested six suspected militants over a plot to launch a rocket attack in Singapore from the nearby Indonesian island of Batam. There was also a series of explosions that rocked the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, with gun battles on the streets earlier this year. The two incidents are connected to the Islamic State, which go to show the need for IS to be stopped.  

08/29/2016 Southeast Asia (Hindustan Times): Islamic State jihadists are eyeing expansion into Southeast Asia by joining forces with local extremists, a senior US counter-terrorism official warned Friday.

IS has a history of partnering with militant groups around the world, including in Egypt, Libya and Nigeria, and wants to broaden its reach in the region, according to Justin Siberell, acting coordinator for counter-terrorism at the US State Department.

“My understanding is that they have looked at existing groups across the region,” Siberell said in a conference call from Washington with Asia-based journalists.

“There have been people that have pledged affiliation and allegiance to IS at the group level. We’re certainly concerned about that, we’re concerned about the rise of new IS affiliates and we’re working with governments to do what they can to prevent that.”

Siberell also noted that militants from Southeast Asia fighting with IS in Iraq and Syria have been deployed in a unit called the Katibah Nusantara, and could pose a threat when they eventually return to their home countries.

“We’re certainly concerned about IS’ ability to expand or to establish branches,” he said.

There have been only relatively minor attacks and plots blamed on IS affiliates in the region, but analysts fear the group could become more effective.

Indonesian police earlier this month arrested six suspected militants over a plot to launch a rocket attack on an up-market Singapore waterfront district from the nearby Indonesian island of Batam.

The suspects’ alleged leader, Gigih Rahmat Dewa, is accused of planning the attack with Bahrun Naim, a leading Indonesian militant who is believed to be fighting with IS in Syria.

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