World

Philippine police arrest Egyptian believed to be ISIS unit commander

Philippine security forces have arrested an Egyptian believed to be a unit commander of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Fehmi Lassoued was nabbed over the weekend with his Filipino girlfriend Anabel Salipada in Manila's Ermita district, police chief Ronald dela Rosa said yesterday.

Salipada, 32, is from Tupi town in Maguindanao province, a hotbed of Muslim insurgency in the war-torn southern island of Mindanao.

Firearms and materials for making pipe bombs were also seized.

Director-General dela Rosa said Lassoued was a "commander" and "government negotiator" of ISIS in Syria.

FAKE PASSPORT

Lassoued has been in the Philippines since July 2016 and travelled "in and out of Manila" throughout his stay using a fake Tunisian passport.

He told reporters at a briefing that he "was ISIS before", but was whisked away before he could give a fuller explanation.

Lassoued is the second ISIS-linked foreigner to be arrested this year in the Philippines.

Last month, security forces nabbed suspected terrorist Abdelhakim Labidi Adib, 20, from the province of Basilan, a stronghold of the small but brutal Abu Sayyaf group in Mindanao.

Labidi Adib was described as an Abu Sayyaf "sympathiser" and a "campaigner" for an ISIS province in the Philippines.

WORLD