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Social media give IS gunmen propaganda outlet

/ 05:10 AM October 07, 2017

Facebook accommodated this photo of a terrorist in Marawi City flashing the tawheed sign (oneness of Allah) inside the main battle area. This photo was posted on Thursday.

MARAWI CITY—Social media again gave terrorists lingering in this city an outlet for propaganda and a way to taunt authorities who had projected victory in the coming days against homegrown groups clinging to the belief they belonged to the Islamic State (IS).

Someone calling himself Semion Al Mujaheed, who claims to be spokesperson for Dawlah Islamiyah (IS) here, said that despite “relentless airstrikes” and “assaults by American-supported kuffar (nonbelievers)” the terrorists’ fighting spirit remained high.

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There was no way to check the authenticity of Mujaheed’s claim that he belonged to IS.

“We swear by Allah!” Mujaheed said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

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“The lions of East Asia in Marawi will let you taste the same humiliation and defeat that you suffered in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan,” said the post, apparently referring to US forces fighting in the three countries.

US record

But the war records of the United States against terror in the three countries were erroneously referred to as “defeats” by Mujaheed, or whoever he is.

In Iraq, US-allied forces had taken control of Mosul, the IS capital, and had driven out hundreds of IS fighters. In Syria, US-allied forces are near victory in taking back Raqa, another IS capital. In Afghanistan, US forces are sending more troops to battle with Taliban, another criminal group masquerading as Islamists.

Mujaheed belittled the military report that soldiers had killed 765 terrorists since the war began on May 23.

A certain Samsudin Marawi, who also claims to be an IS propagandist, said in another Facebook post on Thursday that the casualty figure being cited by the military was based on “lies and deception.”

“From the start, our number was only 184. That’s the truth,” he said. He did not say how many were left alive.

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Like Mujaheed, Marawi said the terrorists would continue to fight to stay in Marawi.

Omar selfie

He also released photos of Omar Maute, a key terrorist leader, showing him preparing to feast on a young coconut and what appeared to be his selfie inside the main battle area.

A Marawi City resident, however, said Omar’s photo might have been taken outside the city and it might be old. “There is no forest inside the city,” said the resident, who declined to be identified.

Replying to earlier statements made by Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr. that the terrorists were running out of bullets and other supplies and many wanted to surrender already, the two claiming to be IS spokespersons said: “The Dawlah will never surrender!”

In another Facebook post written in Maranao, Marawi said: “We are doing well, by Allah’s will.”

Brawner said the appeal for the terrorists to surrender stayed. “But if they don’t want to surrender and continue fighting, our troops will finish them,” Brawner said. —ALLAN NAWAL

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TAGS: Islamic State, Marawi, news, outlet for propaganda, Regions, Social Media
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