ISIS has released a video showing its fighters ripping up photographs of Pope Francis and threatening to come to Rome.
Filmed in the Philippines, where the terrorists have been fighting the government for control of the city of Marawi, the video also shows the destruction the group have wreaked on a Catholic church.
The jihadists brag about how they have freed inmates from a local jail, with one addressing the camera saying: “Remember this, you kuffar [non-Muslims] – we will be in Rome, we will be in Rome, inshallah [god willing].”
The video also shows them destroying a crucifix and a statue of the Virgin Mary. It finishes with the church in flames, and one of the terrorists explaining: “After all their efforts, it would be the religion of the cross that would be broken.”
“The crusaders’ enmity toward the Muslims only served to embolden a generation of youth,” he adds.
Government forces have been slowly retaking Marawi after Islamists overran it in May. More than 760 people, including 595 terrorists, have died in the fighting, which has sparked concerns that the Islamic State group may have taken a foothold in Southeast Asia.
Earlier this week, troops recaptured a main mosque where gunmen had taken cover with hostages, although the building appeared empty when government forces entered.