Top IS leader killed in Marawi raid | Inquirer News

Top IS leader killed in Marawi raid

05:04 AM June 15, 2023

ILIGAN CITY, Lanao del Norte, Philippines — Tension prevailed in Marawi City on Wednesday with residents worrying about what would come next after the top leader of Islamic State (IS)-linked Daulah Islamiyah (DI) was killed in an early morning government raid.

Combined forces of the police and military were trying to serve an arrest warrant against Abu Zacharia in a house at Barangay Bangon past 1 a.m. on Wednesday when they were met with fierce resistance.


According to a report by Col. Robert Daculan, chief of the Lanao del Sur Police Provincial Office, Abu Zacharia threw two grenades and an improvised bomb made from a 60mm mortar shell to quell the advance of policemen and soldiers, triggering a 10-minute gunfight.


Private First Class Chrismar Tungpalal was wounded in the shootout and was taken to Amai Pakpak Medical Center for treatment.

Known by the names Jer Mimbantas, Faharudin Hadji Benito Satar, Faharudin Pumbaya Pangalian, and Fahar Pumbaya Pangalian, Abu Zacharia was said to be the emir or leader of DI in the country. He assumed the leadership of the terror group after Owaida Marohombsar, known as Abu Dhar, was slain in a clash with soldiers in Lanao del Sur province in March 2019.

Abu Zacharia STORY: Top IS leader killed in Marawi raid

Abu Zacharia (Photo courtesy of the Western Mindanao Command Public Affair Office)

In March last year, the military announced that Abu Zacharia also took on the leadership of the so-called Islamic State of East Asia Province that includes neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia.

Clearing ops

Government sources told the Inquirer that Abu Zacharia’s family had rented a house in Bangon which had become his hiding place from authorities. It is not far from the apartment unit rented by Basilan’s Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon at Barangay Basak Malutlut where he, along with brothers Abdullah and Omarkhayam Maute and Abu Dhar, met to plan the siege of Marawi in 2017.

After the raid on Abu Zacharia’s house, authorities tried to pacify the community as residents became restless.

The residents were also advised not to come out of their houses as soldiers and policemen were conducting clearing operations. The portion of the national highway passing through the village was closed to traffic.


In a follow-up operation at past 6 a.m. in another house in Bangon, a top aide of Abu Zacharia was killed after fighting off authorities.

Joharie Sandab alias Morsid, a DI subleader believed to be in charge of finance and logistics, allegedly hurled a grenade at government troops but it did not explode. Another gunfight broke out, resulting in the death of Morsid.

“The government forces were left with no choice but to return fire,” said a statement from the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom).

Government troops recovered two loaded M16A1 rifles beside Abu Zacharia’s body, and an M16A1 and a 9mm pistol from Sandab.

Col. Billy dela Rosa, deputy commander of the Army’s 103rd Brigade, said they arranged for the turnover of the remains of the IS and DI leaders to their respective families.

The military raid took place in Barangay Bangon in Marawi City. (Photo from the Western Mindanao Command Public Affairs Office)

‘Significant breakthrough’

“This is a significant breakthrough in our campaign against the Daulah Islamiyah. We are certain that the death of Abu Zacharia will be the downfall of the IS-inspired group in our area of operation,” said Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, Wesmincom commander.

“This achievement is attributable to the solidarity among various sectors. May we continue to walk the path leading to internal security with utmost sincerity and dedication,” Galido added.

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Abu Zacharia was part of the Maute Group that conspired with Hapilon, then the Asian emir of IS, in laying siege to Marawi for five months beginning on May 23, 2017. The five-month battle resulted in over 1,200 deaths, mostly militants.

Abu Zacharia, reports said, was a member of the Mimbantas clan whose late patriarch, Alim Abdul Aziz Mimbantas, was vice chair for military affairs of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which signed a peace deal with the government in 2014.



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TAGS: Abu Zacharia, Daulah Islamiyah, Islamic State

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