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26 May, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 26 May, 2017 03:37:48 AM
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Philippine troops bomb militants in Marawi

‘IS linked’ Islamist group seizes part of city
AFP
Philippine troops bomb militants in Marawi

Philippine security forces bombed residential areas in a southern city on Thursday as they battled Islamist militants who were holding hostages and reported to have murdered at least 11 civilians, reports AFP from Marawi. An initial rampage by gunmen, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, through the mainly Muslim city of Marawi on Tuesday prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to impose martial law across the southern third of the Philippines.
Authorities said ending the crisis was proving extremely hard because, although there were only 30 to 40 remaining gunmen, the militants were moving nimbly through homes, had planted bombs in the streets and were holding hostages.
Intense gunfighting could be heard constantly throughout the day, according to an AFP reporter in the city, and the military said it had dropped bombs on residential neighbourhoods. “We are using surgical airstrikes,” local military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera told reporters in Marawi shortly before big clouds of black smoke rose from a bombed area near the provincial government building.
Most of Marawi’s 200,000 residents had fled the city, which is about 800 kilometres (500 miles) south of Manila, but Herrera said those who remained had been warned to get out of the areas where there was bombing and fighting. “We are requesting our people in Marawi to go to safe places... and to stay indoors,” he said.  Five soldiers, two policemen and 26 militants have died in the three days of fighting, according to authorities. Thirty-nine soldiers have been wounded, the military said. Herrera said two civilians had also been killed inside a hospital that the gunmen had occupied on Tuesday, and the military was investigating reports that nine people had been murdered at a checkpoint the militants had set up. Local GMA television network showed images of nine bullet-riddled bodies lying in a field with their hands tied together. Duterte said on Wednesday that one of the policemen killed was similarly caught at a checkpoint set up by the militants, then beheaded. The militants are also holding between 12 and 15 Catholic hostages abducted from a church, according to the local bishop, Edwin Dela Pena. The fighting erupted on Tuesday after security forces raided a house where they believed Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the infamous Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom gang and Philippine head of IS, was hiding.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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