PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The bodies of Malaysian militantMahmud Ahmad and his pregnant wife are believed to be among the 50 found under a collapsed building in Marawi city in the Philippines.
CNN Philippines obtained an exclusive video from a "highly-placed military source" which purportedly showed the remains of the former Universiti Malaya lecturer.
The body, which is among the ruins of a building bombed out by government troops via a targeted airstrike in war-torn Marawi, is clad in light khaki pants, a black undershirt, and a military fatigue jacket.
The body of Mahmud's wife cannot be seen in the video, which runs for about one minute.
The source said the body was identified to be that of Mahmud by four hostages and the wounded aide of militant leader Omar Maute, who was also killed in clashes with Philippine troops.
The video was reportedly shown to the Philippines' Joint Task Force Marawi Commander Major General Danilo Pamonag, who confirmed that one of the bodies seen is believed to beMahmud.
The Philippine troops had also retrieved a handwritten letter, dated Aug 13 and believed to be penned by Mahmud to his wife.
The letter, written mostly in English with a dash of Tagalog, expressed his love and concern for "Humaira" and their child, whom he referred to as "our baby in your tummy".
The letter also showed his worries and wishes for his wife's prayers, with Mahmud stating that he tries "not to cry too much" when faced with the losses of "syuhada (martyrs)". He signed off with "Babycry" and "Doc", along with drawings of a heart and a grinning face.
Mahmud, who was wanted by Malaysia's anti-terrorism authorities for over two years for his links to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was reportedly poised to become the new leader of the ISIS faction in Marawi.
He was believed to be the financier for the Marawi attack, and was said to have received more than RM500,000 (S$ 160,851) from ISIS militants and sympathisers.