Philippine military: Airstrikes kill top terrorists, including one on FBI list

Story highlights

  • U.S. officials had a $5 million bounty for a Jemaah Islamiyah leader killed in the airstrike
  • The Malaysian was on the FBI most-wanted list for "providing material support to terrorists"
  • In past, Philippine officials made premature announcements about fugitives' deaths

The Philippine military said it killed a man who is on the FBI most-wanted terror list and two other senior militants Thursday in a predawn airstrike on a remote southern island.

About 15 militants died in the early morning airstrike on the island province of Sulu, part of the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao, according to a spokesman for the Philippines armed forces.

The dead included two senior figures in Jemaah Islamiyah and members of the militant group Abu Sayyaf, said Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, the spokesman.

U.S. officials had a $5 million reward for the capture of Jemaah Islamiyah leader Zulkifli bin Abdul Hir, according to the FBI website.

The Malaysian, also known as Marwan, was on the FBI most-wanted list for "providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists" and contributing "goods and services" to a global terror network.

Another Jemaah Islamiyah member Mohammad Ali, also known as Muawiyah, and Abu Sayyaf leader Gumbahali Jumdail were also among those killed, according to the spokesman.

The airstrike was a joint effort between the army, air force, the navy and the police and was "very brief but precise," Burgos said.

    The Philippine police are at the scene helping identify the bodies, Burgos said, but added that he didn't think DNA tests had been conducted yet.

    In the past, Philippine officials made premature announcements about the capture and deaths of Indonesian fugitives Dulmatin, who turned up in Indonesia in 2010, and Umar Patek, who was captured in Pakistan last year. Both had fled to the southern Philippines and were reported captured or killed in Mindanao.

    The Mindanao group of islands includes a Muslim autonomous region set up in the 1990s to quell armed uprisings by people seeking an independent Muslim homeland in the Philippines, a predominantly Christian country.

    The Jemaah Islamiyah terror group first came to international attention when the Bali bombings of October 2002 provided a stark warning of the group's abilities and its deadly ambitions. Active across much of Southeast Asia, it has close ties with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.

        CNN recommends

      • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

        As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
      • Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
      • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

        Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
      • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

        It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.