Sunday, March 07, 2010

Philippine troops raid JI hideout in Sulu province

Police patrols Sulu province in the southern Philippines in this photo taken early in March. Seven Filipino militants are killed in a military raid on a hideout of the Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiya on Sunday, March 7, 2010 on Laminusa Island, off Sulu province. (Mindanao Examiner Photo).

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 7, 2010) - Seven Filipino militants were killed in raid Sunday by Philippine soldiers on hideout of Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiya on an island off the southern province of Sulu, officials told the Mindanao Examiner.

Officials said one soldier was also wounded after local Abu Sayyaf militants opened fire on the raiders before sunrise in Laminusa Island.

“We have killed seven militants and recovered more than a dozen automatic weapons. One of my soldiers is injured in the raid when militants opened fire on security forces which triggered the firefight,” said Marine Brigadier General Rustico Guerrero, commander of military forces in Sulu province.

He said the target of the raid was a Malaysian terror man called Zulkifli bin Hir also known as Marwan and Abu Sayyaf sub-leader whose alias is Boy Tondo and was involved in the 2000 cross-border raid in Malaysia’s Sipadan resort island where 21 mostly European holidaymakers were kidnapped.

“Marwan was not in the area, but only his cells who were all Abu Sayyaf members,” Guerrero said, adding, the operation to track down the terrorists is still going on.

The United States has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Zulkifli bin Hir, believed to be involved in multiple deadly bomb attacks in the Philippines.

Zulkifli bin Hir allegedly heads the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia terrorist organization and is a member of Jemaah Islamiyah's central command and is believed to be hiding in Sulu.

Authorities said Zulkifli bin Hir has been training Abu Sayyaf militants in bomb-making.

Last month, police captured a senior Abu Sayyaf member Mujibar Amon in Sulu’s Indanan town after villagers secretly tipped off authorities about his presence.

Amon is one the country’s most wanted terrorists who was involved in last year’s kidnappings of three Red Cross workers and many more, including the cross-border raid in Malaysia’s Sipadan island report where 21 mostly European and Asian holidaymakers were abducted and brought to Sulu in 2000.
He was tagged as among those who also kidnapped US tourist Jeffrey Shilling in 2000 in Sulu.

Authorities are also tracking down other Jemaah Islamiya members who are believed hiding in Sulu and among them are Dulmatin, Umar Patek and Mauiya – all wanted for the Bali bombings in 2002 that killed over 200 people, mostly Australian holidaymakers. (Mindanao Examiner)

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