Washington: Philippine security forces on Monday greeted news of the death of "IS" leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a "severe blow on terrorist organizations around the globe." However, a spokesperson stressed the military was on high alert against retaliatory attacks.
"We expect that his death will impact negatively on the leadership of terrorists in various parts of the world," military spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said in a statement. "Our troops in the front lines remain on high alert to thwart possible attempts to ride on this development," he added.
In 2017, Philippine troops fought against hundreds of IS-allied fighters who laid siege to Marawi City for five months, killing more than 1,200, including civilians, and leaving the municipality in ruins.
The siege on Marawi City prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao, which is still in effect until the end of the year.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner also called for increased vigilance to prevent possible attacks.
"... The possible intensification of jihadist propaganda following this death, which could possibly call for acts of vengeance, requires the most extreme vigilance, notable during public events in your departments in coming days," Castaner said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said al-Baghdadi's death was a setback for the extremist organization, but not its end. Macron stressed that "the fight continues with our partners in the international coalition so that the terrorist organisation is definitely defeated.”
US President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that the leader of the "IS" terror outfit killed himself by detonating a suicide vest during a raid by US special forces in northwestern Syria.
In a televised address from the White House, Trump hailed the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a major blow to the jihadist group.