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» 02/04/2012
PHILIPPINES
Mindanao, Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah leaders killed in a raid
The air raid struck an Islamic extremists camp located near the town of Parang (Jolo), killing 15 terrorists. Among the dead Zulfifli bin Hir, head of Jemaah Islamiah, Gumbahali Jumdail, leader of Abu Sayyaf and Mumanda Ali, one of the authors of the Bali bombing. In the coming days DNA tests to confirm the identity of the slain.

Manila (AsiaNews) - Three of the top leaders of Abu Sayyaf and Jamaah Islamiyah were killed in a 'Philippine army air raid launched a few days ago near the town of Parang, the island of Jolo (Mindanao). Another 12 died in the bombing of both militant groups, but have not yet been identified. The process of recovery of remains was conducted by the Philippine military with United States special forces.

Marcelo Burgos, a spokesman for the Philippine Army, said that the dead include: Zulkifli bin Hir better known as Marwan, a citizen of Malaysia and leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaeda; Gumbahali Jumdail, head of Abu Sayyaf known as Dr. Abu, Head of the deadliest attacks in recent years in Mindanao and the Philippines; Mumamda Ali, aka Muawiya, former military officer from the Singapore, Jemaah Islamiyah leader, a refugee in the Philippines since 2002 after the terrorist attack in Bali . A 5 million dollar bounty hung over the head of the three, paid by the government of the United States and the Philippines, even in case of death. Burgos said that in the coming days DNA tests will be carried out on remains to fully confirm their identities. The army spokesman did not rule out collaboration with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) the Islamist movement for some years working with the Philippine government for peace in Mindanao.

Marwan and Dr. Abu Muawiya are responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in recent years in the Philippines and Indonesisa. They kept their contacts with other cells of al Qaeda operating in the rest of Asia and the Middle East and used the impenetrable jungles of Jolo to train the militia. Their main source of funding were trafficking in arms, drugs and kidnapping of tourists, religious and humanitarian workers.

According to army officials, the death of three leaders - if confirmed - is one of the greatest successes of the battle against Islamic terrorism in Southeast Asia since the January 2011 arrest of Umar Patek, the Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist and mastermind of the Bali bombing of 2002. He was captured by U.S. special forces in Abbotabad (Pakistan) four months before the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The predominantly Muslim region of Mindanao has for over 40 years been the scene of a conflict between the Philippine army and Islamist groups fighting for independence of the island and creation of an Islamic state governed by sharia. Despite negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the historical Muslim separist movement - Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah have continued to commit kidnappings and attacks against Christians and government buildings. In recent years the Catholic community of Jolo has often been the target of attacks. The most serious occurred July 7, 2009, when a bomb exploded inside the cathedral, causing six deaths and 40 wounded.

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See also
08/08/2005 PHILIPPINES
Thousands of troops to supervise elections in Mindanao
09/21/2004 PHILIPPINES
Repentance and forgiveness necessary in talks between government and separatists, Archbishop says
by Sonny Evangelista
02/15/2005 PHILIPPINES
Inhuman and wicked attacks, says Filipino Archbishop
02/03/2006 PHILIPPINES
Massacre of Christians in Jolo deals heavy blow to hopes for peace
01/08/2010 PHILIPPINES
Mindanao: spreading a culture of peace through radio
by Santosh Digal

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: on the persecution of Christians, the international community should "not stand by mute and inactive” and “look away”For the sixth time in a week, Pope Francis mentioned the martyrdom of Christians in today’s Regina Caeli (the Marian prayer at Easter), slamming the indifference of the international community towards this "alarming failure to protect basic human rights.” Today’s martyrs "are many, and we can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries." In addition, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is Risen!”
ASIA
Easter: The silence of the innocent and the gag
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IRAN
Time for a deal with Tehran, a reliable partner against the Islamic State group
by Bernardo Cervellera A framework agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue has to be inked by 31 March. US Republicans, Israel and Saudi Arabia are fiercely opposed to it for ulterior motives. Hassan Rouhani wants Iran to come back into the international fold. Tehran is playing a mediating role in the Middle East. For Vatican nuncio, “there is no evidence that Iran is preparing a nuclear bomb.”

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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