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Philippine military identifies new leader of ISIS in SE-Asia

MANILA The Philippine military has identified the new leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in South-east Asia.

Major Ronald Suscano, spokesman for the army's 1st Infantry Division, said one of those who plotted the Marawi siege, identified only as Abu Dar, replaced Isnilon Hapilon, who was killed last year.

Dar is described as less radical and having less combat experience than Hapilon, who was leader of the brutal Abu Sayyaf group.

"Isnilon is more radical because he is older and he has a lot of training and experience. Abu Dar was just a sub-leader," Maj Suscano said on Monday.

Dar, from the southern Philippine province of Lanao del Sur, has connections to militants outside the Philippines.

A security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the military estimates that Dar's group was able to bring around 500 million pesos (S$12.7 million) out of Marawi during the early stage of the siege, Malaya Business Insight reported.

BOTCHED OPERATION

ISIS militants from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups attacked Marawi city in May last year following a botched operation to arrest Hapilon.

More than 1,100 people died in the fighting. The siege prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the southern island of Mindanao. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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