On seven occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding security matters. Most pressing for this report, on Thursday subscribers were informed of a warning issued by the US Embassy in Manila urging increased vigilance and security awareness following an attack on Resorts World casino near the International Airport.
While it proved impossible to acquire accurate information from official sources in the Philippines during the incident, the death toll now stands at 37, with another 70 wounded. Initial reports indicated most of the dead were due to trampling during the panic, then gunshot wounds, then smoke inhalation. In a most bizarre explanation, local police and government officials insist a gunman carrying an assault rifle broke into Resorts World Manila from a parking lot entrance, fired at a TV screen, doused a gaming table with gasoline and set it on fire. He then proceeded to steal the equivalent of $2.3 million dollars in casino chips, break into the adjoining Maxims Hotel, and then burned himself alive.
While the Philippine National Police and government officials continue to attempt to downplay the terrorism angle, it is interesting to note that the Islamic State has formally claimed responsibility for the attack through their official news agency.
Readers are reminded that the Philippine government has been waging a violent battle with radical Muslims in the southern portion of the country for decades. Most recently, the Islamic State has threatened to carry to battle to the capital of Manila, with the Philippine president threatening to impose martial law countrywide.
Readers are also reminded that on April 6th, AlertsUSA warned of the release of an issue of the Islamic State's monthly internet publication known as Rumiyah, within which followers are encouraged to steal money from unbelievers and their businesses.
"Just as the blood of the kafir is halal to shed, so too is the kafir’s wealth halal to take.
Whether the financial damage is on an individual kafir or the cause of perpetual loss to a business, the Muslim in Dar al-Kufr (the Land of Disbelief) has the opportunity to follow this blessed sunnah, striking terror by stalking the kuffar and causing them economic harm. There should be no misunderstanding about the excellence of this deed, as taking this wealth is in accordance with the command of Allah."
Beware of Ramadan
AlertsUSA reminds subscribers that we are now in the midst of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began Friday, May 26 and runs through to the evening of Saturday, June 24. To make this year's special month, the Islamic State is urging followers to wage all out war on the West.
For a little historical context:
With early 7th century Muslims, acts of war during Ramadan were strictly forbidden. That all changed with Muhammad, who supposedly received revelations from above indicating that it was those carrying out attacks during Ramadan that were the real victims, because the non-Muslims, by their sheer presence and sinful lifestyles, were denying true followers the ability to follow the straight path of Sharia.
Fast forwarding to modern times, readers should bear in mind that 2016's month of daytime fasting and prayer was the bloodiest in recent history. Attacks included a massive suicide bombing in Baghdad that killed nearly 300 people, an Istanbul airport attack that killed 45, and a shooting massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 49.
Readers are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance and increased security awareness when out an about, and in particular, when present at large public gatherings and other soft targets.
AlertsUSA continues to monitor the overall domestic and international threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers via SMS messages of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.