A new propaganda video released by the so-called Islamic State (IS) celebrates the death and destruction wrought in Marawi.
The Inside the Khilafah [caliphate] video – the third in a series of the same title – glorifies the actions of terrorists, who have held out in the largest Muslim majority city in the Philippines since May 23.
The video, revealed by the SITE Intelligence Group, boasts of how jihadists freed prisoners from the local jail and desecrated churches.
The American English-speaking narrator, who has narrated other videos for ISIS’ Al-Hayat Media Centre, said the occupation took root in Marawi because the Philippine government tried to “subjugate the Muslims” and “expel them from the land”.
The video also shows child soldiers engaged in battle with state forces and rehashes footage that surfaced in June showing militants trashing a church.
The narrator says: “After all their efforts it would be the religion of the cross that would be broken. The crusaders’ enmity toward the Muslims only served to embolden a generation of youth.”
One of the jihadists, vowing that “we will make more revenge,” holds up a photo of Pope Francis. “We will be in Rome, inshallah,” he says repeatedly before pointing his gun at the pontiff’s picture.
The narrator also says that President Duterte “ran to his masters, the defenders of the cross, America, along with their regional guard dog Australia, and begged them for help, and despite having been previously insulted by Duterte, they were quick to put their differences aside.
“America is continuing to be drawn into the lands of the Muslims all over the globe to be weakened and to bleed to death at the hands of the believers.”
The video also shows a map of what it calls “America’s War on Islam” featuring Iraq, Syria, Sinai, West Africa, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
With the terror group continuing to lose ground in the Middle East, the video promotes Mindanao, and Marawi in particular, as a “land of hijrah and jihad”. Bizarrely, the narrator then waxes lyrical about the natural beauty of the region.
Earlier this month, another IS video was released featuring an Australian jihadist in Syria urging attacks on the Philippines.
Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said this month that Marawi could be liberated in “a month or two” — however a month before this, he said the terrorists would be defeated within a month.
Today (Thursday, August 24) it has been reported that fighters have been cleared from their strongholds in the city’s central mosques.
Watch part of the video here: