THE BUREAU of Immigration (BI) will deport a Jordanian alleged to be a former aide of Osama Bin Laden’s brother-in-law, it said in a statement yesterday.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime H. Morente identified the foreigner as Mahmoud Afif Abdeljalil, 51, whom authorities arrested on July 4 for illegally entering the country.
Abdeljalil has no record of arrival since he was arrested and deported from the country in 2003 “for being an undesirable alien,” Mr. Morente said, adding that he had used a fictitious name and falsified public documents.
The bureau said the Jordanian had claimed to have returned to the Philippines in 2007 and admitted he was deported in 2003 for having an expired visa and for being involved in clandestine terrorist activities as a Palestinian behind the name of Mahmood Afif.
Abdeljalil served as the point man of Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, a Saudi businessman and Bin Laden’s brother-in-law, for the management of charity organizations that funneled money to Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization founded by Bin Laden, and the Abu Sayyaf Group, when he was arrested in 2003, the bureau said.
The Abu Sayyaf, the most violent terrorist group in the Mindanao region, uses terror for profit and to promote jihadist agenda, and engages in kidnapping for ransom, bombings, assassinations and extortion, according to the US National Counterterrorism Center.
While Mr. Khalifa was killed in 2007, Abdeljalil continued providing financial assistance to the Abu Sayyaf using several mosques and Madrasa schools that received funding from Al Qaeda, according to the bureau.
Monitoring of the Jordanian’s activities started when he and his Algerian companion were flagged down at a military checkpoint in Zamboanga in August last year. Mr. Morente ordered his arrest after it was confirmed that he was illegally staying in the Philippines.
Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana earlier said the military had identified at least two of the seven foreign jihadists who are grooming locals to become suicide bombers in the Mindanao region.
The nationalities of the foreign terrorists linked to Islamic State (IS) are Egyptian, Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean, he said, adding that the foreign jihadists were with the group of Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan on the island of Jolo in southern Philippines.
Abu Sayyaf leader Sawadjaan, who is believed to have taken over the leadership of IS in the Philippines, allegedly masterminded the bombing of a Catholic cathedral in Jolo in January, killing 23 people and wounding about 100 more.
This was one of the few major instances where suicide attacks were used in the predominantly Catholic nation. Another was a van blast at a military checkpoint on the island of Basilan in July 2018, where at least 10 people died.
IS has also claimed responsibility for the June 28 attack near a military camp in Sulu province. The military later identified one of the two suicide bombers as the first Filipino to have participated in the tactic. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas