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Philippine military kills three top militants in dawn strike

Southeast Asia’s most-wanted terrorist and two other senior militants from Al Qaeda-linked groups were killed in a US-backed airstrike in the southern Philippines this morning, the Philippine military says.

Jolo philippines 2012 02 02 0Enlarge
Around 600 US special forces have been deployed in the southern Philippines since 2002. American counterterrorism troops had helped the Filipino military track Zulkifi bin Hir (AKA Marwan) through satellite and drone surveillance for years. (THERENCE KOH/AFP/Getty Images)

The Philippine military says it has killed Southeast Asia’s most-wanted terrorist and two other senior militants from Al Qaeda-linked groups in a US-backed airstrike in the south of the country.

Malaysian Zulkifi bin Hir, also known as Marwan, a US-trained engineer and senior leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network, was among the 15 people killed in total during the dawn raid on a camp near Parang town on the remote southern Philippine island of Jolo, the AP reported.

Accused of involvement in several deadly bombings in the Philippines and in the training of new militants, Marwan was on the US FBI’s most wanted list, with a $5 million reward offered for this capture.

American counterterrorism troops had helped the Filipino military track Marwan through satellite and drone surveillance for years.

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No ground troops were deployed in this morning’s attack, according to the AFP.

The camp reportedly hosted about 30 militants from Jemaah Islamiyah, the Al Qaeda-linked organisation believed to have orchestrated the Bali bombings of 2002, and Abu Sayyaf, a radical Islamic separatist group.

Umbra Jumdail, the leader of Abu Sayyaf, and Abdullah Ali, also known as Muawiyah, a Singaporean national and Jemaah Islamiyah leader, were both killed in the strike, according to the BBC.

The islands of the southwest Philippines are known to be a haven for various militant groups. Yesterday, two Europeans were kidnapped by militants on a tiny island in the Tawi-Tawi archipelago, GlobalPost reported.

Abu Sayyaf is believed to have been behind the abduction.

Around 600 US special forces have been deployed in the southern Philippines since 2002.  

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/philippines/120202/philippine-military-kills-three-top-militants-