Philippines confirms top al-Qaida man killed

A top al-Qaida-linked militant, long wanted by US and Philippine authorities for deadly terror attacks, has been killed in a clash with troops in a major blow to his brutal rebel group, the military said Wednesday. Jainal Antel Sali Jr., popularly known as Abu Sulaiman - a top leader of the Abu Sayyaf rebel group - was fatally shot Tuesday in a fierce gunbattle with army special forces on the mountainous southern island of Jolo, military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon said, confirming earlier reports of the militant's death. Esperon said that Sulaiman's death could set off retaliatory attacks, but that the military was ready to thwart any such assaults.