The Philippines Army said they have killed Isnilon Hapilon, a militant who had pledged his alliance to the Islamic State group in southeast Asia, along with another wanted militant, BBC reported on Monday. The two were killed in Marawi City, which has been partly held by insurgents since an attack in May.
Hapilon was listed among the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most-wanted terrorists. The United States had offered a bounty of up to $5 million (approximately Rs 33 crore) for him. He was also the faction leader of the Abu Sayyaf group that is notorious for beheading hostages, kidnapping and piracy. He had pledged alliance to the Islamic State group in 2014.
The Army launched a targeted operation against the two militants after a hostage, who was recently freed, disclosed their location. While Hapilon was shot dead in the head by a sniper, Omarkhayam Maute died of a chest wound in the gunbattle, Reuters reported quoting unidentified officials as saying.
“It will be just a matter of days before it will finally be declared that Marawi has been liberated from the clutches of terrorists,” Army Chief of Staff General Eduardo Ano said.
The Philippines government was criticised for the slow recapturing of Marawi City from militant control. It is the only region with a Muslim-majority population in the otherwise largely Catholic country.