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Abu Sayyaf leader killed in fighting, says military

media Philippine marine corps training Photo: 51st Marine Reserve Batallion

A top leader of Abu Sayyaf, an armed Islamist group in the Philippines linked to Al Qaeda, may have been among six people killed in fighting on the southern island of Jolo Sunday, according to the military. The chief of the regional anti-terror task force, Brigadier General Rustico Guerrero said the target of the operation, Alader Parad, may have been killed. Parad was behind the abduction of three Red Cross workers last year.

Parad and his entourage “were the targets of this operation,” Guerrero told local radio. “We are running after the leaders of this notorious Abu Sayyaf group."

Four civilians have independently identified Parad’s body, according to the head of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, Lieutenant General Benjamin Dolorfino.

He said that Abdulhaman Jumdail, the younger brother of Umbra Jumdail, one of the main leaders of the group, was also killed.

"This is a very big accomplishment for us, it means we surprised the enemy," said Dolorfino.

He said the marines launched a raid on an Abu Sayyaf training camp outside of Maimbung township Sunday after intelligence reports that Parad and Umbra Jumdail were there.

One marine was killed and three others were wounded in the fighting, navy spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo, said in a statement.

The military launched massive operations against the group on Jolo after three workers with the International Committee for the Red Cross mission were kidnapped from the Island in January 2009. They have since been released.

Parad had threatened to behead the workers unless his demands were met. At the height of the crisis, the military reported he had been killed in a battle, but he appeared in a national radio interview a few days later.

Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for the worst attacks in the country, including the bombing of a passenger ferry on Manila Bay in 2004 that killed over 100 people. The group is believed to have received funds from al-Qaida and is on the US government's list of terrorist organisations.

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