(UPDATED) - The Philippine National Police confirmed Thursday that the top leader of the pro-ISIS terror group Ansar al-Khilafah in the Philippines (AKP) is dead.
Based on initial reports from the PNP, an inter-agency force led by the National Intelligence Coordinating Council conducted an operation against Mohammad Jaafar Maguid at Angel Beach Resort in Barangay Kitagas, Kiamba, Sarangani province on Thursday.
According to the report, the operation "led to the death" of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid alias "Tokboy."
Also arrested during the operation were three of Maguid's supposed cohorts: Matahata Dialawe Arboleda, Ismael Sahak alias Mael, and Morhaban Veloso alias Bugoy.
In a press conference Thursday evening, Dela Rosa said that assorted weapons were recovered from the suspects, and a Toyota Wigo they had been using.
Two handheld grenades were found on the suspects, while the vehicle contained two rifles, one hand grenade, 18 short magazines, two plastiques (plastic explosives), and 16 steel magazines.
Also recovered in the vehicle were eight long magazines, 1 plastique, 7 steel magazines, 2 bandoliers, and assorted documents, Dela Rosa said.
The police is conducting follow-up operations against the group, which Dela Rosa expects to "weaken" following Maguid's death.
"It will take some time for them to regroup...[pero] hangga't nandiyan pa ang ISIS na sumusuporta sa kanila (while they continue to receive support from ISIS), somebody will be inspired from among the group to replace Tokboy (Maguid)," he said.
The AKP is a local terrorist group that pledged allegiance to foreign terrorist organization ISIS in 2015.
The PNP earlier tagged the AKP as the terror group behind the foiled Manila bombing last November 28.
PNP Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa had earlier announced that the planned bombing was the group's "audition" to receive validation from ISIS.
Results of police investigation revealed that the improvised explosive device (IED) was supposed to be detonated in Rizal Park initially before members of the terror group decided to bring it to Roxas Boulevard near the US Embassy.
Since the foiled attack, PNP has arrested four members of the group's alleged terror cell based in Bulacan who were allegedly behind the foiled attack: Mohammad Jumao-as, Rashid Kilala, Jiaher Guinar and Elmer Romero alias Jamal.