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How Big A Threat Is Extremism In Southeast Asia?

The Philippines has been a recent flashpoint, but violent episodes have taken place elsewhere, too. Islamist groups in the region are diverse and the threat of terrorism is not confined to ISIS.
Smoke billows from the Marawi city center after an air attack by Philippine government troops on May 30. Philippine government troops have been battling ISIS-linked militants. / Jes Aznar / Getty Images

A recent string of violent episodes in Southeast Asian countries sheds some light on the challenges facing this region as it grapples with extremism.

In Indonesia last month, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a Jakarta bus station. The attack was linked to an ISIS-affiliated group.

In Thailand, a rash of attacks linked to Islamist insurgent groups took place throughout April and into May in the restive, Muslim-dominated south — including a car bomb attack outside a shopping mall that wounded more than 50 people.

And in the Philippines, ISIS-linked militants recently took over and occupied Marawi, a city in the country's Muslim-majority island of Mindanao. President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on Mindanao on May 23, and the Philippine army has been fighting the militants for almost three weeks

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