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Principale » Philippine military launches new air raids in Islamist battle

Philippine military launches new air raids in Islamist battle

10 Juin 2017

The siege of Marawi prompted President Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao for 60 days and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus on the entire island during the period of military rule.

About 400 local militants reinforced by about 40 foreign fighters stormed Marawi on May 23, using sophisticated battlefield tactics to take control of large swaths of the lakeside city.

"A group of our own military army men were hit by our own airstrike", Lorenzana told the press on Thursday, May 1.

Lorenzana also warned that many militants may have escaped, despite checkpoints throughout the city and surrounding it.

Although ISIL and groups affiliated to the movement have claimed several attacks across Southeast Asia in the last two years, the battle in Marawi City was the first long drawn-out confrontation with security forces.

"The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters", Lorenzana said.

Buildings burned after the raids, as ground forces shelled fortifications and tunnels in the eastern half of the mainly Muslim city, where up to 50 fighters are believed to be holed up. "Their aim is to kill other people so that's why it's our responsibility that we have common understanding, consensus and common proceedings on how to fight these foreign fighters".

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said they have already rescued a total of 1,236 civilians since the start of the gun battle on Tuesday last week.

"There are 2,000 people who need immediate help [after] 13 days without food", Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesman for the provincial crisis management committee, said.

"Kami po ay nanawagan na sana this armed bandits will come to their senses, surrender or face the dire consequences of military action and that means sure death", he said.

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"If it's war, my orders are really are to wipe them out, everyone. I'm telling you now, you can kill all those you're holding now, but I won't talk to you", Duterte said in a speech before peace talks advocates at an air base in the central city of Lapu-Lapu.

However he did not comment on the friendly fire deaths.

However troops have also held back from troops have held back from indiscriminately bombing at the militants with newly acquired fighter jets and ending the urban insurrection in a day because the government has to assure the safety of civilians trapped in the fighting.

Thirty-two soldiers and police officers have been confirmed killed.

On Sunday the Indonesian defence minister told an global security forum that there are about 1,200 Islamic State operatives in the Philippines, including foreigners of whom 40 are from Indonesia.

A Muslim separatist rebellion in Mindanao has killed more than 120,000 people since the 1970s.

Authorities said they were taken by surprise when many gunmen emerged to protect Hapilon and then went on a rampage through Marawi, which has a population of 200,000.

But small hardline groups, including the Maute and Abu Sayyaf, have refused to negotiate and sought to united behind IS. "That was a case of militant group Moro National Liberation Front wanting to make themselves known to the government, saying 'We're here!' This time, the Maute Group, or ISIS - we can use the name interchangeably now - they're attacking with the intention to occupy".

The Maute, the Abu Sayyaf and other hardline groups have rejected the peace process.