Most-wanted militant among terror leaders killed in air strike in the Philippines


Click to follow
The Independent Online

A dawn air strike in the south of the country has killed three leaders of terror groups linked to al-Qa'ida.

Philippines forces attacked the town of Parang on Jolo island, a militant stronghold in the Mindanao region, yesterday.

Officials said two Jemaah Islamiyah leaders and one from Abu Sayyaf were among a total of 15 people killed. Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, was reportedly among the dead.

The Malaysian engineer, who trained in the US, was on an FBI most-wanted list with a $5m (£3.2m) reward offered for his capture. He was accused of involvement in a series of bombings in the Philippines and in training new militants. Colonel Marcelo Burgos, a spokesman for the army, said the raid also killed the head of the Philippine-based Abu Sayyaf movement, Umbra Jumdail, also known as Doc Abu, and a Singaporean leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, Abdullah Ali, alias Muhamda Ali or Mauwiya.

Police recovered the bodies of the three insurgent leaders and they were "positively identified by police and intelligence informants", Colonel Burgos said.

The strike significantly weakens a regional militant network that has relied on the restive southern Philippines as a hideout, a headquarters for plotting bombings and a base for training and recruitment.