Philippine troops kill alleged leader of Islamic State-linked group

Manila, Oct. 29, (dpa/GNA) – Philippine troops on Friday killed the alleged leader of an Islamic State-linked terrorist group in a raid on a suspected safehouse in a southern province, the military said.

Troops launched the pre-dawn raid on the house in Talayan town in Maguindanao province, 900 kilometres south of Manila, after receiving reports about the presence of armed men, Major General Juvymax Uy, commander of an anti-terrorism task force, said.

About 30 people were in the house during the raid, including Salahuddin Hassan, leader of the Daulah Islamiyah group, and his wife Jehana Minbida, finance officer of the group, who were both killed in the firefight, Uy said.

"The couple was our primary target," he said. "They were with other Daulah Islamiyah members, who engaged us in a firefight that lasted for more than 30 minutes, before withdrawing."

The Daulah Islamiyah is one of the terrorist groups in the Philippines that are linked to the international terrorist group Islamic State.

It was behind numerous bombings in the southern region of Mindanao, including a night market bombing in Davao City, the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte, in September 2016, killing 15 people.

It was also responsible for extortion and killings of businessmen in Mindanao, the military said.

"This latest accomplishment is a significant blow against the (Daulah Islamiyah) and another victory in our thrust against terrorism," said General Jose Faustino Jr, the armed forces chief of staff.

"With their leader now dead, the terrorist group will certainly crumble," he added.