Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Clash erupts as troops raid Marawi hideout of IS-linked fighters

From GMA News (May 23): Clash erupts as troops raid Marawi hideout of IS-linked fighters

Updated 8:37pm - Five soldiers were wounded on Tuesday in a clash when they raided an apartment where Islamic State-linked militants were hiding in Marawi City, the army said.

The focus of the raid was about 15 militants belonging to the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State in the Middle East.

The fighting was still going on by nightfall.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, an army spokesman, said the military was acting on information that Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf group, was among the militants hiding in the apartment in Marawi City.

The US State Department has a bounty of up to $5 million for his arrest.

The Maute and Abu Sayyaf have an alliance and are both linked with Islamic State, a source of growing concern for President Rodrigo Duterte, who has warned of the expanding influence of the militants in the Philippines.

No hospital takeover

For her part, Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the military's Western Mindanao Command, belied reports that a hospital was taken over by the bandits.

"There is no truth to reports that 250 to 300 men occupied it. But its true that there is ongoing exchange of fire as of now in Barangay Basak," she said.

Myrna Jo Henry, information officer of the Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said a crisis committee has been activated by Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujib Hataman to validate reports and assess the situation in the city.

Henry said they are trying to validate reports that the armed group occupied the Amai Pakpak Medical Center and a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility.


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