Philippines hope to confirm death of top Islamist

The Philippine military said Wednesday it was trying to confirm whether a top al-Qaida-linked militant long wanted by US and Philippine authorities was killed during a clash with troops on southern Jolo island. Jainal Antel Sali Jr., one of the highest ranking leaders of the Abu Sayyaf group more popularly known as Abu Sulaiman, is believed to have been fatally shot in a fierce gunbattle when army special forces raided his camp in the mountainous heartland of Jolo on Tuesday, military spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro said. "All indications are it's Sulaiman," Bacarro told The Associated Press by telephone, referring to . "This would really be a major blow to the Abu Sayyaf once we've confirmed it's him."