United States: DNA test validates top Filipino terror suspect is dead

Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017|12:08 a.m.

MANILA, Philippines– DNA tests have validated the death of one of the FBI’s most-wanted fear suspects, who the Philippine armed force reported was killed in a final battle to quell an Islamic State group-linked siege in southern Marawi city, U.S. and Philippine officials said Saturday.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Molly Koscina informed The Associated Press that DNA checks carried out in Virginia at the demand of the Philippine military validated the death of Isnilon Hapilon. Washington has actually backed efforts by the Philippines, a treaty ally, to fight terrorism for many years.

“This is yet another example of how the United States is supporting our friend, partner and ally in the fight against horror,” Koscina said.

Hapilon and Omarkhayam Maute, another leader of the Marawi siege, were killed in a gunbattle Monday in a push by countless soldiers to retake the last pocket of the Islamic city held by the militants, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

The Philippine military thinks that Mahmud bin Ahmad, a top Malaysian militant and close partner of Hapilon, had actually likewise been killed in the Marawi clashes, although his body has yet to be recuperated by troops.

DNA tests were also being done on the remains of other suspects who have actually been recovered by soldiers, Lorenzana said without elaborating.

The confirmation of the deaths of Hapilon and Maute would lead the way for the payment of substantial U.S. and Philippine bounties offered for the two. A saved 16-year-old captive supplied the essential details that allowed soldiers to find Hapilon and Maute in one building in Marawi, Lorenzana stated.

The U.S. State Department has provided a reward of approximately $5 million for Hapilon, who Washington blames for ransom kidnappings of several Americans, among whom was beheaded in 2001 in southern Basilan province. Hapilon had been prosecuted in the District of Columbia for his alleged involvement in terrorist acts versus U.S. nationals and other foreigners.

A soft-spoken Islamic preacher born to a household of militants on southern Basilan island, Hapilon had actually been connected to several major attacks in the southern Philippines, including kidnappings, bombings and attacks on metropolitan centers.

Hapilon and Maute were among the leaders in a nearly five-month insurrection in the lakeside city that has actually left a minimum of 1,127 people dead, consisting of 915 militants and 165 soldiers and police.

The siege has actually sparked fears that the Islamic State group may acquire a foothold in Southeast Asia by influencing and providing funds to regional militants as it suffers battle beats in Syria and Iraq.

The United States and Australia have actually released surveillance airplane to assist Filipinos battling the Marawi aggressors.

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