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Malaysia seeks verification from PHL of JI leader's death

Malaysia is asking verification from Philippine authorities on the death of Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf leader Zulkifli Abdul Hir, who Philippine authorities said was among those killed in a military operation on Thursday this week.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said police were liaising with their Philippine counterparts on handing DNA samples of Zulkifli's family for verification, Malaysia's The Star newspaper reported.

“Our team is now in Manila and is working closely with Philippine authorities. Police will arrange for the return of the body to Malaysia for burial if it is confirmed to be that of Zulkifli Abdul Hir,” he said.

Hishammuddin said police were also awaiting confirmation of the death of Bacho and Jeknal Adil, both members of the Darul Islam (DI) Sabah militant group.

Authorities in Malaysia have taken a DNA sample from a brother of Zulkifli, Mohd Tariq who works in Kuala Lumpur, according to a separate report on The Star.

Zulkifli, who was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most Wanted Terrorists' list, was reportedly killed in an air strike in Jolo on Thursday.

Also known as Marwan, Zulkifli, 46, was one of the world's most wanted men with an FBI bounty on his head.

Born in Muar, Zulkifli had trained as an engineer in the United States.

The Jemaah Islamiyah is a terrorist network linked to recent terrorist attacks in Asia, including the 2002 Bali bombings.

Preemptive measures

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said terrorist activities had failed to find a footing in Malaysia due to pre-emptive measures taken by authorities.

“This is one of the reasons why there are no serious terrorist threats in Malaysia. One of the reasons we have succeeded is because we have both proactive and pre-emptive measures in place to tackle the issue,” he said.

In Manila, regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said soldiers were still combing the jungle camp for Zulkifli's body, where 15 people were reportedly killed in the dawn air strike.

A military spokesman in Manila, Lt. Col. Marcelo Burgos, had initially reported that Zulkifli was among the fatalities. — LBG, GMA News
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February 4, 2012 10:14am
GMA News Online
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