A top Philippine militant who pledged allegiance to Islamic State has been killed in the group's latest setback in its attempts to sow terror across south-east Asia.
The killing of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid during a firefight with security forces in the southern Philippines early Thursday followed the foiling of an alleged Islamic State plot to carry out attacks in Myanmar to show support for persecuted Rohingya Muslims.
Malaysian counter-terrorism officials say they have detained an Islamic State follower who was planning to travel to Myanmar to carry out attacks.
The Indonesian man has been charged with possession of materials linked to terrorism.
Authorities in Indonesia and Malaysia have recently arrested several dozen militants with ties to Islamic State who are alleged to have been involved in terrorist plots.
The arrests came amid fears that hardened Islamic State fighters recruited from south-east Asia will return home to join more than 30 regional militant groups who have pledged allegiance to the group which wants to establish a regional Caliphate.
Singapore's Home Affairs Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam warned last year that "it is no longer a question of whether an attack will take place (in the region) but really, when an attack is going to take place."
Security experts say violence against Rohingya in Myanmar's western Rakhine state risks becoming a new lightning rod for militants in a shadowy Islamic State-linked network stretching from the Philippines to Malaysia to Indonesia.
Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said militants in the region are "determined to mount attacks both inside Myanmar and against Myanmar targets overseas."
The International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report in December that coordinated attacks in Rakhine were carried out by a group called Harakah al-Yakin, which has links to Saudia Arabia and Pakistan.
ICG said it would be wrong to "over-interpret the significance of the international links" but warned they would deepen and become operational if the violence continues.
More than 30,000 Rohingya fleeing violence have arrived in Bangladesh transit camps in recent weeks.
The killing of Maguid at a beach resort in Kiamba town in central Mindanao is a major boost to the efforts to Philippine security forces hunting jihadist groups.
Maguid was the leader of Ansar Khalifa Philippines, one of four groups that pledged allegiance to Islamic State in a YouTube video in 2015.
Ansar Khalifa Philippines has threatened to deploy suicide bombers across the Philippines and make the country a "graveyard" for American soldiers.
Security experts say Maguid had direct links to several terror groups in Indonesia.
He is believed to be a former commander of the notorious 105th Base Command of the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front that was trained by the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah which was responsible for the Bali bombings in 2002.
Maguid was wanted for a series of attacks in the Philippines since 2008, including bombings and multiple murders.
He was arrested in 2009 but escaped after nine months in jail.
"Tokboy (Maguid) is a notorious bandit leader with affiliation to Islamic State. He and his group had escaped several operations to neutralise them," said Cedrick Train, a Mindanao police superintendent.
Three of Maguid's men were arrested.