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Friday, 26 May 2017

Philippines violence: IS-linked fighters 'among militants in Marawi'

Foreign fighters believed to be linked to so-called Islamic State are among militants killed in a southern Philippine city, officials say.
The military has been conducting air strikes in Marawi, on Mindanao island, after it was overrun by jihadists.
The region is a stronghold for the local Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to IS.
Analysts say it is a rare admission by authorities that foreigners are now fighting alongside local militants.
President Rodrigo Duterte said the presence of foreign fighters was proof that IS had gained a foothold on Mindanao.
Officials said that six jihadists, including Indonesian and Malaysian citizens, were killed as the army continued its operation in Marawi, a mainly Muslim city in Lanao del Sur province.

What is happening in Marawi?

Fighting erupted after the army tried to capture top militant leader Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf militant group. He has pledged allegiance to IS and Philippine Solicitor General Jose Calida said IS had designated him its leader in the Philippines.
When the raid failed, dozens of gunmen came out on to the streets of Marawi, reportedly flying IS flags. Buildings were burned, prison inmates freed and hostages taken as the militants battled troops across the city.
At least 11 soldiers and 31 militants had been killed, a military spokesman said. It is not clear if any civilians are among the dead. Thousands of residents have fled from the city.
"We were preparing for exams and we could hear the gunfire and bombs," one student who evacuated told Reuters news agency. "We were so scared and so were our Muslim brothers and sisters. We were sure they would get to us."
President Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao on Tuesday in response to the violence.
Martial law allows the use of the military to enforce order, and the detention of people without charge for long periods. Mr Duterte said it was needed to safeguard national security.
Source By BBC.COM


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