Hapilon, Maute killed on Day 147 of Marawi Crisis

19 October, 2017, 00:34 | Author: Garry Little
  • The Leaders of the ISIS Assault on Marawi in the Philippines Have Been Killed

The military said Monday that Hapilon - who figured on the U.S. "most wanted terrorists" list - was killed in a dawn offensive alongside Omarkhayam Maute, one of two brothers who allied with Hapilon to plot the takeover of the city.

Recently, Philippine and USA troops also simulated a hijacking and hostage-taking incidents in a counterterrorism drill called Tempest Wind. "They are confirmed dead", Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo shortly before noon Monday.

A top Malaysian militant, Mahmud bin Ahmad, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Handzalah and is a close associate of Hapilon, has not been found and is among the remaining militants being hunted by troops. The Philippine government had also offered a five million peso reward for Omar Maute.

The FBI was offering an award of up to $5 million for any information that directly led to Hapilon's arrest or conviction. Hapilon had been indicted in the District of Columbia for his alleged involvement in terrorist acts against US nationals and other foreigners.

Spokesman Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla said Monday he had heard "the good news" that the two final surviving leaders of the siege were killed but he had no official confirmation yet.

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Troops were still pursuing dozens of fighters in the battle zone including Indonesians and Malaysians, Ano said, after rescuing 20 hostages over the weekend with a two-month-old baby among them.

Abu Sayyaf can choose Hapilon's successor from its other factions in Sulu and Basilan, just like how they did after the deaths of their former leaders, Khadaffy Janjalani and Abu Sabaya, said Professor Julkipli Wadi.

At least 17 hostages, including an infant and women, were rescued by troops in the scene of the battle, which the officials said may finally end this week. "It was he who provided the funding that was necessary to bankroll the siege of Marawi", he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte visited the battle-scarred Islamic city on Tuesday and announced its liberation, sparking hopes that hundreds of thousands of residents could finally return home after being displaced for almost five months by a bloody siege. Defence chiefs last month said other Philippine militant leaders had been killed in the battle for Marawi. The Islamic city's 200,000 people, along with tens of thousands of others in nearby towns, abandoned their homes and businesses as the fighting began to rage and crammed evacuation shelters outside Marawi, sparking a humanitarian crisis. The pair have been central to regrouping, re-arming and recruiting militants.

The insurrection prompted the military to launch a ground offensive and airstrikes, with the United States and Australia later backing the troops by deploying surveillance aircraft.

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