Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Military bombs militants’ positions in bid to retake Marawi

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 7): Military bombs militants’ positions in bid to retake Marawi

Marawi City. (SCREENGRAB from http://zamboanga.com/)

MARAWI CITY – The military bombed more positions of Islamic State-inspired militants as it tried to retake control of this ruined city.

Two of the Philippine Air Force FA-50 jets launched fresh air strikes shortly before 8 a.m. on Monday as fighting continues for more than two months now.

But Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay told the Inquirer the military’s death toll rose to 122 as three more soldiers died in the battle field.

Petinglay said of the latest figures, two were killed when hit by homemade bomb explosions on Sunday, while the other one died when he had a heart attack in the war zone.

“The fighting is concentrated now in a one-square kilometer area. There are still 50 fighters inside,” she said.

Petinglay said the “remaining areas” cover parts of two villages in the heart of the city.

She said there are at least 80 hostages, including the Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob, the vicar general of Marawi City, still in the hands of the militants.

“But our troops, so far, killed 528 militants, and we have recovered a total of 603 assorted firearms since the start of the gun battle,” Petinglay said.

She said 45 civilians have been killed by the militants, while a total of 1,724 civilians have been rescued.

On May 23, the clashes flared up in this city when government security forces moved to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, the acknowledged head of the Islamic State in Mindanao. But soldiers were met by a big force of gunmen composed of militants from the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf, backed by an undetermined number of foreign fighters.

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