One of the leaders of the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf group linked to Daesh terror group was killed in clashes with the government forces on the island of Bohol, Philippine Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said Saturday.

The operation of the Philippine Armed Forces against the Abu Sayyaf was launched in January and is aimed at putting an end to the group’s terrorist activities and kidnappings.

“It is indeed Joselito Melloria and he was killed when our troops met their group in Sitio Lagsing, Barangay Bacani, Clarin, Bohol sometime 1 o’clock today,” Padilla told the CNN broadcaster.

Abu Sayyaf, a militant Islamist group based in the southwestern part of the Philippines, is notorious for carrying out kidnappings for ransom, often targeting foreigners and sometimes beheading captives.

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