U.S. Designates IS-Philippines Leader as Global Terrorist

09/13/2019 Philippines (International Christian Concern) – On September 10, the U.S. government declared the leader of the Islamic State’s militant branch in the Philippines as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and placed him under U.S. sanctions.

According to the State Department (DoS), Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, the head of IS-Philippines, is the mastermind behind the Jan. 27 church bombing in Jolo island that killed 23 and injured 109. He is one of 12 militants linked to international terrorist organizations added to the State Department list.

The designation was seen as “the most significant update of terrorist designation authorities since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks” by the DoS, contending that it “will enable the United States to more effectively sanction the leaders of terrorist organizations and those who train to commit acts of terrorism.”

“This administration will continue to aggressively use all levers of American power, including financial sanctions, to target terrorists who plot murderous operations to indiscriminately kill innocent civilians around the world, and those who enable, facilitate and finance their heinous acts,” the DoS said in its statement.

According to Philippine Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano, intelligence indicated that Sawadjaan, a Jolo-based commander of the brutal Abu Sayyaf extremist group, was installed as ISIS chief in a ceremony last year.

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