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Report: Al-Qaida funded Philippines bombings

A suspected Muslim militant now in custody arranged for al-Qaida funds to finance bombings in the Philippines, including one that killed a U.S. Green Beret, according to a government report.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Police arrested a suspected Muslim militant who arranged for al-Qaida funds to finance bombings in the Philippines — including one that killed a U.S. Green Beret — a new government report said.

The money bought explosives, speedboats and rifles, according to the confidential report seen Friday by The Associated Press.

Khair Mundus, who was arrested last week, funneled at least $89,000 from al-Qaida militants in Saudi Arabia to Abu Sayyaf leader Khaddafy Janjalani, the report said.

U.S. and Philippine officials have linked the Abu Sayyaf with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network. The Abu Sayyaf, a small but ruthless group notorious for kidnappings and beheadings, has been labeled a terrorist organization by Washington.

Mundus, 40, stayed in Saudi Arabia from 1996 until last year, purportedly for an Arabic-language course, and helped seek funds from al-Qaida for the Abu Sayyaf, the report said. It said he was arrested in southern Zamboanga city but not been formally charged.

Mundus first worked with Abdurajak Janjalani, the Abu Sayyaf founder killed in a gunfight with police in December 1998, the report said. Khaddafy Janjalani and Abdurak Janjalani were brothers.

The report said Mundus allegedly told interrogators he arranged the transfer of funds to Khadaffy Janjalani from 2001 to last year through local bank accounts under aliases. The money was used to buy M14 rifles and a 90mm recoilless rifle, two speedboats and explosives for bombings, it said.

One bombing killed a Green Beret, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wayne Jackson, and three Filipino civilians outside an army camp in Zamboanga on Oct. 2, 2002. Other attacks that month hit two department stores in Zamboanga, killing seven people, and a bus terminal in southern Kidapawan city, killing seven, the report said.

Another Filipino militant raised money among Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia that was used to buy telescopes and a GPS device used in the 2001 abduction of 20 people from a resort, the report quoted Mundus as telling the military.

Three of those abducted were Americans. One of them, Guillermo Sobero, was beheaded. In 2002, the army rescued missionary Gracia Burnham of Wichita, Kan., but her husband, Martin, was killed in the crossfire.

Last month, Philippine authorities arrested a suspected Muslim militant, Jordan Abdullah, and accused him of helping an Indonesian militant hide terror funds, some from al-Qaida, in his bank accounts. The money allegedly was used for terror attacks.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who strongly backs the U.S.-led global war on terrorism, recently renewed a crackdown on suspected terrorists, announcing the arrests of suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels allegedly behind a plot to carry out major bombings in the capital.