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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
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

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