Conflict & Justice

US kills three top Islamic terrorists in the Philippines


Elite US-trained Philippine army rangers deployed in the restive southern Philippine islands in 2007.



A joint US-Philippines raid on Thursday knocked off three of the most-wanted Islamic terrorists in the Philippines, the AFP reports.

This is a major success for the controversial anti-terror mission in the Philippines, where a sizeable contingency wants all American troops off the Philippine islands. China's state-run media also recently vowed to make the Philippines "pay" for hosting so many US troops near its waters.

Among those killed is Zulkifli bin Hir (also known as Marwan), a Malaysian-born bombmaker the US wanted dead so bad it put a $5 million bounty on his head. According to the Philippines, a total of about 15 were killed, the Wall Street Journal reports.

All are believed to operate among Abu Sayyaf. While the Islamic radicals are hardly a household name in the US, Filipinos know the group as an al-Qaeda-connected kidnapping-and-extortion squad that has given certain southern islands a menacing reputation.

The families of two birdwatchers recently kidnapped -- and perhaps sold to Abu Sayyaf -- may will be eager to know if the strike might have some bearing on their loved ones' safety.