The FBI finally confirmed Thursday that the “most wanted” terrorist known as “Marwan” did, in fact, die in a bloody January raid that killed 44 Philippines police officers. According to reports, the FBI was able to confirm the terrorist’s death from a DNA sample taken from a severed finger found in the aftermath of the raid in southern Philippines town of Mamasapano.
Marwan, who also went by “Zulkifli Abdhir” as well as several other names, was the target of the botched raid, but his body was never recovered amidst the carnage.
However, Philippines forces did find a disembodied finger inside the house where they believed Marwan was hiding. The finger was sent to the United States FBI lab for DNA analysis, and it came back as a positive match for the infamous Malaysian terrorist who was reputedly a top leader of the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic terror organization Jemaah Islamiyah, or “Islamic Congregation.”
Along with other “forensic data and information obtained from our Philippine law enforcement partners,” FBI Los Angeles office Assistant Director David Bowdich told CNN that the DNA evidence led the FBI to confirm that Marwan is “deceased.”
As a result, the FBI dropped the high-ranking terror leader from its “Most Wanted Terrorist” list. But this is not the first time that Marwan has been “killed.”
Just three years ago, Marwan was reported dead after he was targeted in an airstrike. But he popped back up not long after that, sheltered by a radical anti-government Philippines group known as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, based in the southern region of that country.
The Moro group reportedly controlled the compound where Philippine forces staged their calamitous raid in January, a raid carried out even though the government was in the process of negotiating a peace treaty with rebel forces in the south. The Moro organization was a holdout, however, flatly rejecting peace overtures from the government.
Marwan was believed to be a supplier of bombs and improvised explosive devices to numerous terrorist groups, who also gave bomb-making training to terrorists in the Philippines.
The most infamous bombing linked to Marwan and the Jemaah Islamiyah was the October 12, 2002 coordinated bombings of two popular tourist nightspots on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
A captured member of Marwan’s group later told authorities that the locations on Bali were chosen specifically to target American tourists as retaliation for the then-year-old U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. But the 202 people killed in the two blasts hailed from 21 different countries, with Australia taking the worst blow, suffering 88 fatalities.
Marwan is the second “most wanted” terrorist checked off the FBI list in the past 30 days. Last month, authorities in Somalia arrested 29-year-old Liban Haji Mohamed, a top recruiter and spy for the Somalian al-Shabab terror group responsible for numerous mass-casualty attacks in Africa, including this week’s assault on a university in Kenya that killed at least 147.
[Image: Philippines Armed Forces]