A brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden, who wanted in the Philippines for alleged terror financing, has been killed in Madagascar in what appeared to be a burglary, the victim's brother said Wednesday.
Jamal Khalifa, who was married to a sister of the al-Qaida leader, was killed when gunmen broke into his house in a Madagascan village, his brother Malek Khalifa said in a phone interview from his home in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.
Malek, who was distraught when recounting his brother's death, said 25-30 armed men broke into Jamal's house "while he was sleeping," and killed him. His wife and family were not with him.
"They stole everything his computer, all of his things," he said.
Malek said he did not have more details because his brother was a Saudi citizen and Saudi Arabia did not have an embassy on the East African island.
He said his main concern was "to collect my brother's body."
He said Jamal was in Madagascar on business, and his family was in Saudi Arabia.
The Philippine government sought Jamal for allegedly financing the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic militant group, through a charity organization in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
But Jamal denied this, most recently in a letter that he published in the Philippine newspaper The Daily Inquirer on Saturday in which he said: "I have never given any money to any person or group, and certainly not to the Abu Sayyaf."
The United States named Jamal as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York, and arrested him the following year on a visa violation in San Francisco. But he was deported without standing trial.
Malek ended the call with The Associated Press, but was quoted by the pan-Arab Al-Arabiya satellite TV channel as saying that Jamal mined and traded precious stones in Madagascar.
In his letter to The Daily Inquirer, Jamal said he had a "disagreement" with bin Laden and left Afghanistan in 1986, "and we have been apart from each other since then."
Bin Laden, the most wanted terrorist in the world, is believed to be hiding somewhere in the Afghan-Pakistan border region, reports AP.