|Three top terror leaders killed in the Philippines|
|At least 15 Islamic |
Zulkifli is a Malaysian leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, an explosive expert, and the over-all leader of the JI in the Philippines, said military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos. The US government has offered $5 million and P7.4 million reward for Zulkifli's capture.
Muawiyah, who goes by many aliases, is a Singaporean member of JI who fled to the Philippines shortly after the Bali bombings, according to a Philippine military intelligence source. He was a former member of the Singaporean military with the rank of Major. He was also a JI member affiliated with the Abu Sayyaf and had contact with Omar Patek, Burgos said. The US offered a $50,000 reward for his arrest.
Jumdail, a member of the Tausug ethnic group, is a founder and one of the top figures of the Abu Sayyaf group. He had warrants of arrest for 21 counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention and was involved in the 2000 kidnapping in Sipadan, Malaysia and the 2001 kidnapping in Dos Palmas resort in Palawan.
In a press briefing, Burgos said that the composite unit with elite troops from the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and the Philippine Air Force first launched an air strike in Barangay Duyan Kabau, Parang town in Sulu to "soften the target" at around 3 a.m. Thursday. That attack lasted for only a few seconds before troops stormed the terror group's temporary camp, Burgos said.
The air strikes were conducted following tips from civilians that there were Abu Sayyaf and JI members in the area. Burgos said there were also reports that 30 terrorists, including six foreign JI members, arrived in Sulu last December.
Burgos said that no civilians were hurt in the operations, saying that this was a "thorough and deliberate" operation done after "months of intelligence gathering." Burgos added, "We want to assure the people of Sulu that the operation conducted was aimed against known members of the terrorist groups--Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah-- who intends to expand their presence in Mindanao."