Malaysia's most wanted militant believed killed in the Philippines

Report: Former UM lecturer-turned-militant killed in Marawi battle

A former Malaysian university professor who became radizalized and received training in Afghanistan, Mahmud appeared in a video showing militant leaders planning the Marawi siege in a hideout, a sign of his key role in the uprising.

One of America's most wanted terrorists may have escaped a five-week battle with Islamist militants in Marawi City, which began with a raid to capture him, the military said Saturday.

The Philippine military has declared an eight-hour halt to its air and ground offensive against Islamic militants aligned with the Islamic State group in southern Marawi city to allow residents, majority displaced, to celebrate the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Philippine Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano told The Associated Press on Friday, June 23, 2017, that Mahmud bin Ahmad died June 7, 2017, from wounds sustained in fighting with government troops in Marawi last month.

Ano, citing intelligence shared by foreign counterparts, says Mahmud is suspected of channeling more than 30 million pesos ($600,000) from the Islamic State group to acquire firearms, food and other supplies for the attack.

"Once done, only then can we make an official confirmation", he said.

The militants in Indonesia and Philippines were encouraged by series of terror attacks in Bangladesh from early 2013 to last year's July 1 Gulshan cafe attack and they wanted to follow the model of the attacks in their home countries, according to a recent report of Indonesia-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC).

He leads a faction of the Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf that has pledged allegiance to IS.

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According to the ST report, Lieutenant-Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera, the spokesman for the Philippine's Task Force Marawi, told reporters they had confirmed information that Maute had died.

It is possible that the foreigners entered the Philippines through the southern backdoor, where the point of entry is Mindanao via Indonesia or Malaysia, he added.

The ST report said he was believed to have been designated as a successor of Isnilon Hapilon, named as head of IS' Southeast Asia wing.

"This is the goal why we are making a collective effort against terrorism and violent extremism through a trilateral cooperation with Indonesia and Malaysia". They agreed on a plan of action to combat terrorism and rising extremism and deal with the prospects of Asian fighters returning to their region from Syria and Iraq, where the Islamic State group has been losing territory. Among those he had recruited was Malaysia's first suicide bomber, Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki.

He returned to Malaysia to lecture at Universiti Malaya.

After being exposed as an extremist militant by Malaysian police in 2014, he fled to the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Marawi and the entire southern island of Mindanao, unleashing an offensive to crush what he said was an attempt by the terror group to establish a province in the area. Numerous high rises were used as sniper posts to slow down the advance of government forces, the military said.

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