The leader of the Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) terror group in Mindanao and his wife were killed during a pre-dawn law enforcement operation in Maguindanao on Friday.
Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, 6th Infantry Division commander, told a news conference that Salahuddin Hassan and his wife were killed in remote Barangay Damablac, Talayan town.
Until his death, Hassan who carries the aliases Orak/Salah/Tulea/Abu Salman was the emir of the DI terror group operating in south central Mindanao. He had a P1.3-million reward on his head.
The country’s Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) named Hassan as among the top terrorists operating in Mindanao.
In a December 2020 resolution, the ATC identified the Islamic State East Asia, the Maute Group, the DI, and other associated groups as “terrorist organizations.”
Uy said Hassan and his wife, Jehana Minbida, were killed following a brief firefight with government forces in Barangay Damablac.
His wife is the DI finance officer in Mindanao.
“Our troops were to arrest him (Hassan) but he resisted arrest and traded shots with lawmen,” said Uy, also the commander of Joint Task Force Central.
He said locals have alerted units of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade under Colonel Pedro Balisi about the presence of gunmen in Barangay Damablac.
After confirming the report, the Army hatched an operation to arrest Hassan that led to the exchange of gunfire.
Police and military authorities have tagged Hassan for the burning and bombings of Yellow Bus Lines in North Cotabato this year, and also for the series of terror attacks in Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.
Hassan was also linked to the September 2, 2016 bombing of a night market in Davao City that left 14 dead and hurt more than 60 others.
Relatives claimed the remains of the slain couple and immediately buried them according to Islamic rites.