MILF: Philippine police killed bomb-maker in Sunday raid

ZAMBOANGA CITY - An international terrorist who was the target of this week’s raid in the southern Philippines that ended in the deaths of 44 police commandos was killed during the operation, the leader of a former rebel group said Friday.

Zulkifli Bin Hir, known as Marwan, was killed Sunday in a prolonged firefight involving Special Action Force troops in Maguindanao province, Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman Al haj Murad Ebrahim told GMA News in a television interview.

Murad said his group, known by the acronym MILF, had learned of Marwan's death from an "intelligence report."

He told the broadcaster Marwan was killed after he opened fire on the commandos. Murad said the bomb-maker, who had a $6 million FBI bounty on his head, had been buried soon after his death in accordance with Muslim custom.

A private security company, the International Security Agency, said the police cut off one of Marwan’s fingers to confirm his death through DNA. This was confirmed by a Philippine police source.

ABS-CBN News reported Thursday that the U.S. had been asked to confirm Marwan’s DNA.

It is not the first time that police in the Philippines have claimed to have killed Marwan. He was reportedly killed in a clash on the southern island of Mindanao in 2012 but later turned up alive.

Malaysian national Marwan was a leading figure in Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian group behind the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia.

The second target of Sunday’s operation, Basit Usman, was not in the village at the time, the MILF leader said.

MILF's confirmation came after two days after President Benigno Aquino III reported Marwan’s death.

Nearly 400 members of the Special Action Force, an elite unit in the Philippine National Police, entered a MILF-controlled area of Mamasapano township to arrest Marwan and Usman in the early hours of Sunday.

Current reports from the government say that the commandos were attacked by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a splinter group of the MILF that, unlike its parent group, is opposed to a peace deal with the government.

MILF fighters subsequently joined the battle in what was later termed a "misencounter." The police had not notified the MILF of their presence in the area, as stipulated under the peace agreement signed in March.

GMA NEWS quoted Murad as saying the MILF were unaware that Marwan and Usman were in their territory.

Both the MILF and the government have set up inquiries into the incident.

Murad said 11 MILF fighters were killed in the battle. "Despite this, the MILF still wants to continue the peace process with the government," he said.

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