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Philippines army struggles as city siege enters fourth week

Philippines army struggles as city siege enters fourth week”

A top military general of the Philippines said on June 13 that Islamic militants are controlling 20 percent of the southern city of Marawi in Mindanao island.

PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday said he never asked the United States for help in the ongoing military campaign against the local terrorist Maute Group in Marawi City, but he is grateful for the help.

Governments across the region have been on high alert since Islamic State-linked militants in Southern Philippines took over nearly 20% of the Marawi City about three weeks ago.

ILIGAN, Philippines-Thirteen Philippine marines were killed in fierce fighting with Muslim militants who have laid siege to a southern city for almost three weeks in the biggest single-day loss for government forces, the military said Saturday.

The crisis erupted on May 23, when militants from the ISIS-affiliated Maute clan rampaged through Marawi, after the army raided the local hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of ISIS-affiliated militant group Abu Sayyaf. Efforts to liberate Marawi City continue.

These were among the key details of the information known to government which became the core basis for the declaration of martial law, as laid out Monday before the Supreme Court by the Office of the Solicitor General. However, they failed, and the battles with local military have already left almost 200 terrorists dead, according to the paper.

Indonesia has sought an urgent meeting with Malaysia and the Philippines over the increasing threat of terrorism following the escalation in deadly incursions by militants in Mindanao.

Tens of thousands have fled Marawi, which is the largely Catholic country's most important Muslim city, since the military says its troops unexpectedly interrupted plans by the fighters to take over Marawi in a spectacular event to show that IS had arrived in the Philippines. We see the high-calibre weapons, high-powered weapons.

AFP Chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Ano earlier said the clash could be ended before the 60-day martial law period.

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The seizure of Marawi has alarmed Southeast Asian nations which fear Islamic State - on a backfoot in Iraq and Syria - is trying to set up a stronghold on Mindanao that could threaten their region.

As of Tuesday, the number of security forces and civilians who had died in the battle for Marawi officially stood at 58 and 26, respectively.

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.

Some 300 have been killed in the fighting, including militants, Philippine army fighters and civilians.

The Pentagon, which regularly rotates dozens of special forces troops through the south of the country for military exercises, said it was providing the Philippines with security assistance and training in intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance.

An Associated Press journalist and photographer saw a U.S. Navy P3 Orion plane hovering in cloudy skies above Marawi on Friday.

"So far, we have not found any indication of Islamic militants infiltrating from the Philippines to our territory", Warsito said.

Maute joined forces with Isnilon Hapilon, who was a year ago proclaimed by Islamic State as its Southeast Asia "emir".



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