‘Explosive belt for Miss Universe’: ISIS affiliate calls for attack on beauty pageant in Philippines
“Philippines jihadi Telegram channel posted a video for making an explosive belt and suggested ‘Create bomb for miss universe,’” the group wrote on a Telegram Messenger group called “IS Philippines supporters,” according to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks the online activity of jihadist organizations.
The post reportedly contained a video on how to assemble a suicide belt and a DIY on explosives in English.
The Miss Universe 2016 beauty contest is scheduled to begin in the Philippines on January 30, 2017 at a venue yet to be determined. Founded in 1952, the pageant brings together women from around the world. This year, the lucky winner will be crowned by Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines, who became Miss Universe 2015.
“We consider this as serious,” the tourism department of the Philippines said Tuesday. This was echoed by the national police, who said an intelligence group will be assigned to the event.
“That's going to be looked at,” spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos told AFP, without elaborating.
Two militant Islamist guerrilla groups from the south of the Philippines, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Abu Sayyaf rebels, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group back in 2014 in clips uploaded to YouTube.
The Philippines have repeatedly been mentioned as possible jihadist targets. In June, Islamic State called on its followers to focus their energy on fighting in Southeast Asia, in addition to battling in Iraq and Syria. In a propaganda video, the organization specifically called on extremists to target Malaysia and the Philippines.