The southern Philippines has become the training center for Al Qaeda’s Southeast Asia affiliate, Jemaah Islamiyah, drawing recruits from a number of countries, according to Western and Philippine officials. For the last six to nine months, recruits mostly from Indonesia and Malaysia, but also a few from as far off as Pakistan and the Middle East, have received training at inaccessible, rough-hewn sites — basically a few huts and some tents — in a marshy region on the island of Mindanao, officials said. The training is similar to what their older colleagues in terrorism got in Afghanistan when that served as Al Qaeda’s base, they added. In Mindanao, though, the training appears to include more of a special emphasis on the use of sophisticated explosives, the officials said. Full Story
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