ISIS Cells Are in 'Almost Every Province' of Indonesia: Army Chief

ISIS Cells Are in 'Almost Every Province' of Indonesia: Army Chief”

Muslim militants holed up for more than three weeks in Marawi, southern Philippines, have been executing civilians trapped in bombed-out districts in the city, officials said yesterday.

The siege of Marawi, the city on the southern Philippines island of Mindanao that has been engulfed by conflict between military forces and ISIS militants for the past three weeks, rages on with an estimated 1,500 civilians still unable to flee the chaos.

"The early action of the military and the government has actually pre-empted their plans to be able to capture the city", Abella said in a press briefing, referring to the Maute group.

Despite the serious threat posed by the extremists, the President said he had not sought help from other countries for the retaking of Marawi City.

On Monday China said it supported the Philippines' "anti-terrorism" operations after the U.S. embassy confirmed it that USA special forces were assisting in the operations. Efforts to liberate Marawi City continue.

The AP confirms seeing a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft high in the skies above Marawi on Friday, noting it "flew above rocket-firing Philippine helicopters that struck militant positions, causing plumes of smoke to billow skyward".

"This is dedicated to soldiers who offered their lives to implement our mission in Marawi city", said Colonel Jose Maria Cuerpo, commander of a Philippine Army brigade fighting in Marawi.

When asked about US support to fight the pro-Islamic State militants in Marawi City on the island of Mindanao, Duterte said he was "not aware of that until they arrived".

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Gen Ganip said intelligence and territorial defence operations around the border with the Philippines has not given any indication of any militant having crossed over and that the Indonesian military is striving to keep it that way.

However, many were still asking if the Philippine military sought the permission of the president to allow the United States special forces assistance in the on-going fierce battle in Marawi. However, the military continues to battle close to 200 armed terrorists in the Islamic City of Marawi showing signs the battle will not end that soon.

Maute militants stormed Marawi on May 23, clashing with government troops and prompting President Duterte to declare martial law in the island of Mindanao, of which the city is a part.

As of Saturday the number of security forces killed in the battle for Marawi stood at 58.

The siege of Marawi has raised fears that ISIL's violent ideology is gaining a foothold in the Philippines' restive south, where Muslim separatists have fought for greater autonomy for decades. "We had to take cover several times when we saw a sniper".

The Filipino military asserts that the militants now occupy only around 10 percent of the city.

The military's social media-monitoring team identified 63 accounts under fake names that it believed were being used by the Islamic State-allied Maute group and its sympathisers.

Abella was also asked why top security officials led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. joined Duterte in a trip to Russian Federation around the time the government received information about the planned Marawi attack.

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