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Philippine police arrest alleged terror leader

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine police on Friday arrested the alleged leader of a radical Islamist group believed to be responsible for one of Southeast Asia's deadliest terror attacks.

Dinno-Amor Rosalejos Pareja, also known as Khalil Pareja, was taken into custody in southern Marawi City and is being held without bail, said national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Leonardo Espina. Other details of his arrest were not immediately available. He is accused of rebelling against the state.

Pareja is allegedly the leader of the Rajah Solaiman Movement, a group of Christian converts to Islam that U.S. and Philippine officials say is allied with two al-Qaida-linked groups — the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group based in the southern Philippines.

The group is believed to be behind the 2004 ferry bombing that killed 116 people in Manila Bay. It was the second-most deadly terrorist attack in Southeast Asia after the 2002 attack on the Indonesian resort island of Bali that killed 202 people.

Espina said Pareja is believed to have taken over leadership of the group following the arrest in 2005 of Hilarion Santos, the movement's leader and Pareja's brother-in-law.

The Rajah Solaiman and its Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah allies also have been blamed for a series of bombings in 2005 that killed about eight people and wounded 150 others in Manila and two southern cities.

In June last year, Washington froze any bank accounts or other financial assets in the United States that belong to the group or its members.

The Treasury Department said the group has received training, money and operational assistance from Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf group and from private Saudi sources that channeled funds through private charitable organizations in the Philippines.