Elevated Threat

There was nothing furtive about the dozen or so men who checked into the Sardonyx Plaza hotel in the city of Cotabato on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Oct. 1. Their leader, a small, cherubic-looking young man who signed the register as Eric Yacub, said more men would be joining them the next day. The group then ate a hearty dinner, ordering food "like there was no tomorrow," recalls hotel employee Marietta Sandayen. As it transpired, there wouldn't be much of a tomorrow for Yacub—at least, not the kind of day he was expecting. Around 6 a.m. the following...

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