MARAWI CITY, Philippines, Oct 19 (Reuters) – The Philippine military said on Thursday there was a “big possibility” that top Malaysian operative Mahmud Ahmad was killed in a battle overnight in Marawi City, during which 13 rebels were killed.
Colonel Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of operations in Marawi, said further investigation was required, including questioning of hostages and scientific tests, but the military believed Mahmud was among the dead.
Mahmud, an academic, is believed to have been pivotal in funding the siege of Marawi, which has lasted almost five months. Some experts say he could succeed Isnilon Hapilon as point man in Southeast Asia for Islamic State following the death of Hapilon on Monday. (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Michael Perry)