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Malaysia takes DNA samples from kin of JI leaders killed in Sulu air strike


Malaysian authorities have taken DNA samples from relatives of at least three suspected Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist leaders killed in an air strike in Sulu last Feb. 2.
 
The Malaysian authorities are now waiting for the go-signal from the Philippines to send over the samples for testing, Malaysia's The Star newspaper reported Thursday.
 
"We have all the samples ready. We are just awaiting the green light from the Philippine authorities before sending over the samples," Special Task Force (Operations and Counter Terrorism) director Commissioner Datuk Mohamad Fuzi Harun said.
 
Once the identities of the three suspected terrorists are confirmed, the Malaysian police would assist in bringing back the bodies to hand them over to their respective families.
 
Killed were JI leader Zulkifli Abdul Hir alias Marwan, and Darul Islam (DI) Sabah members Amin Bacho and Jeknal Adil.
 
Zulkifli, 45, was described as one of the remaining key terror suspects in Southeast Asia.
 
He had been a fugitive for more than a decade and the United States had a $5-million bounty on his head.
 
Some 15 militants were also killed in the air strike. The casualties included Filipino Abu Pula a.k.a. Dr. Abu, and Singaporean Abdullah Ali, another top name in Jemaah Islamiyah.
 
Commissioner Mohamad Fuzi said the Philippine military is still gathering the remains of 15 militants who were killed in a bombing raid on Jolo Island.
 
“Following their successful bombing raid at the hideout, we had a meeting with the Philippine authorities the same night. We agreed to help provide DNA samples for the purpose of identification and they, too, have agreed to return the bodies if it is confirmed that those among the dead were the three Malaysians,” he was quoted by The Star.
 
Fuzi also said it was unlikely that Zulkifli and the other two terrorists had managed to escape the air strike.
 
“From our discussions with the Philippine authorities, they seem to be very certain that they got the three (killed) but let us not speculate. DNA tests will be conducted to verify their identities," he said.
 
Intelligence reports
 
The Star cited intelligence reports that it said confirmed that Amin and Jeknal were in the Philippines with Zulkifli, who had been there since August 2003 where he is believed to have trained Abu Sayyaf members in bomb-making.
 
Amin and Jeknal. both in their 20s, had reportedly fled Malaysia after counter-terrorism police swooped in to arrest DI Sabah members in Tawau last November.
 
At least 13 members of the group were arrested in that raid.
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RSJ, GMA News
GMA News Online
February 9, 2012 10:38am

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