Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines launch join maritime patrol

TARAKAN, Indonesia (AP) — Southeast Asian neighbors Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have agreed to intensify their fight against Islamic militants who have laid siege to a southern Philippine city.

Defense ministers and military chiefs from the three countries launched coordinated maritime patrols on Monday in the Indonesian city of Tarakan in northern Borneo, just across from Sabah, Malaysia.

Indonesia's military chief, Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, said the Maritime Command Centers was also opened in cities in Malaysia and the Philippines. It establishes designated sea lanes for boats and ships in the seas along the countries' borders to prevent Islamic State-aligned militants in the southern Philippines from fleeing to neighboring nations.

The conflict in Marawi has raised fears that the Islamic State's violent ideology is gaining a foothold in the Philippines' restive south.