Philippine Military Strike Kills Three Top-Ranking Terrorists

Posted February 2nd, 2012 at 4:30 pm (UTC-5)
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The Philippine military says it has killed three of southeast Asia's top Islamist militants in a U.S.-backed air raid on the remote southern island of Jolo.

The three terrorist leaders have been identified as Umbra Jumdail, a leader in the Abu Sayyaf group, and Jemaah Islamiyah leaders Zulkifli bin Hir and Abdullah Ali.

Zulkifli bin Hir, a Malaysian national also known as Marwan, carried a $5 million reward for his capture offered by the United States.

Ali was a Singaporean national who went by the alias Muawiyah.

A spokesman for the Philippine military, Marcelo Arnulfo Burgos, said a total of 15 members of Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah groups were killed in the early morning attack.

“This is a big blow on the part of the Abu Sayyaf Group and with links to the Jemaah Islamiyah. Our troops on the ground together with the PNP (Philippine National Police) have confirmed the death of fifteen ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) and J.I. (Jemaah Islamiyah) members, including Muawiyah, Doctor Abu and Marwan.”

Philippine military officials say the attack was planned based on intelligence that about 30 militants figures were stationed in a Jolo village.

About 600 U.S. special forces have been deployed in the southern Philippines since 2002, providing support for the country's counterterrorism efforts.

Abu Sayyaf is responsible for a series of recent abductions in the southern Philippines, where Muslim rebels have been fighting government forces for self-rule since the 1970s.

The Jemaah Islamiyah network has been blamed for a series of terrorist attacks across Asia, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.