Wanted Al Qaeda-Linked Islamist Believed Dead in Philippines Raid: FBI

A Philippine policeman wears a black tape on his badge as a gesture of sympathy to their fallen comrades as they block protesters from reaching the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. In their statement, the demonstrators accused the U.S. government for being involved in a recent operation against Southeast Asia's top terrorist suspect Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, that resulted in the death of 44 police commandos, the worst combat loss in a single day in recent memory. They are also asking Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and Philippine National Police suspended chief Alan Purisima to be held responsible of the said incident. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)Aaron Favila / AP

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A master bomb maker on the FBI's most-wanted terrorists list is believed to have died in last month's botched counter-terrorism raid in the Philippines that led to the death of more than 40 local officers, the FBI said Wednesday. Authorities examined DNA samples from the body of the man identified as Zulkifli bin Hir, better known as the Malaysian national Marwan.

David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office, said that although the DNA samples that the bureau reviewed "do not provide absolute identification," the preliminary results do support that the body is likely Zulkifli's. He is believed to have been hiding in the southern Philippines since 2003, and is a member of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah militant group.

During an anti-terror raid on Jan. 25, police tried to arrest Zulkifli — who had a $5 million bounty on his head — in a remote area of the southern island of Mindanao. But 44 police officers were killed, and the operation shattered a three-year ceasefire between law enforcement and Muslim separatists. "We express our deepest condolences to the brave officers of the Special Action Force, who lost their lives while attempting to apprehend a dangerous fugitive," Bowdich said in a statement Wednesday.



— Pete Williams