DNA test confirms death of senior Daesh leader in Philippines

List of most wanted terrorists in the Philippines released by the Philippine National Police in in 2017 in this file picture. Police on Saturday confirmed that Owaydah Marohombsar Abu Dar (second from left ), a senior leader of Daesh in the Philippines, is dead.
Updated 13 April 2019
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DNA test confirms death of senior Daesh leader in Philippines

  • Abu Dar was on the country's most-wanted list
  • Daesh losing ground in Philippines, says military

MANILA: A senior leader of Daesh in the Philippines is dead after DNA tests confirmed his identity, a military official said Saturday.

Owaydah Marohombsar, also known as Abu Dar, was on the country’s most-wanted list for his role in the 2017 siege of Marawi.

He was one of those who plotted the siege, which would go on to become the longest urban battle in the modern history of the Philippines.

More than 1,000 lives were lost and hundreds of thousands of residents were displaced as a result of heavy combat lasting five months. The city was left in ruins.

“Abu Dar is confirmed dead. The DNA test results from the US showed positive results,” Col. Romeo Brawner, commander of the Army’s 103rd Brigade based in Marawi City told Arab News.

Abu Dar slipped out of Marawi during the height of the crisis and went on to lead the group Daulah Islamiyah Lanao, which later became the focus of military operations.

Last month the military said it believed that one of the bodies retrieved from a clash between soldiers and militants in Tubaran town, Lanao Del Sur, was that of Abu Dar. Former fighters identified Abu Dar’s body from physical features, such as a scar on his cheek.

DNA samples were also taken to confirm his identity. The Philippine military received the results of the DNA test from the US, confirming that it was Abu Dar who was killed in the March operation.

Brawner said Daesh was losing ground in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines.

“We are seeing now the decline of Daesh influence in the region. They attempted to establish a ‘wilayat’ (rule) in the Philippines but they did not succeed at all here.”

He described Abu Dar as “really brutal,” adding: “He teaches the extreme kind of Islam ... like all infidels should be killed. He is really into violent extremism.”

Dr. Rohan Gunaratna, head of the Singapore-based International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said confirmation of Abu Dar’s death was a blow to Daesh.

“Daulah Islamiyah (Islamic State) Lanao led by Abu Dar was one of the four Daesh groups operating in Mindanao. The strategy of the Philippines is to contain, isolate and eliminate the four IS-centric groups that threaten the Philippines,” he told Arab News.


Woman shot dead in N.Ireland in ‘terrorist incident’

Updated 19 April 2019
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Woman shot dead in N.Ireland in ‘terrorist incident’

  • A car-bombing and the hijacking of two vans in Londonderry earlier this year were blamed on a dissident paramilitary group
  • A 1998 peace deal largely brought an end to three decades of bloodshed in Northern Ireland between republican and unionist paramilitaries

LONDON: A woman has been shot dead during riots in the city of Londonderry in Northern Ireland and the killing is being treated as a terrorist incident, police said Friday.
Images posted on social media showed a car and van ablaze and hooded individuals throwing petrol bombs and fireworks at police vehicles.
It was not immediately clear who the woman was or who shot her.
“Sadly I can confirm that following shots being fired tonight in Creggan, a 29-year-old woman has been killed,” Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said in a statement on Twitter.
“We are treating this as a terrorist incident and we have launched a murder enquiry.”
The violence came in the run-up to the Easter weekend, when Republicans opposed to British presence in Northern Ireland mark the anniversary of a 1916 uprising against British rule.
A car-bombing and the hijacking of two vans in Londonderry (also known as Derry) earlier this year were blamed on a dissident paramilitary group.
Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Union Party, which is in favor of Britain’s presence in Northern Ireland, described the death as “heartbreaking news.”
“A senseless act. A family has been torn apart. Those who brought guns onto our streets in the 70s, 80s & 90s were wrong. It is equally wrong in 2019. No one wants to go back,” she wrote on Twitter.
A 1998 peace deal largely brought an end to three decades of sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland between republican and unionist paramilitaries, as well as British armed forces, in a period known as “the Troubles.”
Some 3,500 people were killed in the conflict — many at the hands of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Police have blamed a group called the New IRA for the flare-up in violence in recent months.
Some have expressed fears that recent attacks could be a sign that paramilitaries are seeking to exploit the current political turbulence over Northern Ireland and its border with the Republic of Ireland caused by Brexit.
Michelle O’Neill, the deputy leader of Irish republican party Sinn Fein, condemned those responsible for the killing.
“My heart goes out to the family of the young woman shot dead by so-called dissidents,” she wrote on Twitter.
“This was an attack on the community, an attack on the peace process and an attack on the Good Friday Agreement,” she added, while calling for calm.
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