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Philippines says 500 militants involved in siege


According to worldwide media, Delfin Lorenzana told reporters that seven other soldiers were injured on Wednesday when two air force SF-260 close air support planes dropped bombs on a target in the heart of city.

Padilla said Wednesday the militants had murdered 19 civilians but insisted that the military's "precision airstrikes" had not killed any of the trapped residents. Sometimes the fog of war ...

Fighters from the pro-Islamic State Maute group are clinging to the heart of the city, threatening to kill hostages, despite air and ground attacks by security forces for an eighth day. "It has transmogrified into invasion by foreign terrorists", said Philippines Solicitor General Jose Calida during a press briefing last month.

A video posted on the website of Islamic State's Amaq news agency shows mostly young fighters, and the bodies of dead soldiers inside a vehicle.

"Hopefully 100% of Marawi City", Lorenzana told Rappler in a text message at noon on Thursday, June 1, when he was asked what the military can achieve by Friday.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across the entire southern region of Mindanao in response to the crisis, which he described as the start of a major campaign by IS to establish a foothold in the Philippines.

Asked if they are members of the worldwide terror group ISIS, Lorenzana said, "I believe so".


RESISTANCE The incident is under investigation and results are expected to come out in "three to five days", Mr. Lorenzana said, adding that it is the ground commanders' call if aerial assaults must be suspended as government deploys more combatants in Marawi.

Precision-guided bombs were used earlier in airstrikes in Marawi's urban areas, but the military ran out of the high-tech munitions and used conventional ones in Wednesday's bombing run, he said.

A tragic friendly fire incident in the southern Philippines has cast doubts over military assurances that a victory in the ongoing fight against Muslim militants in Marawi is close at hand. Fighters loyal to him surprised government forces with their firepower, fending off air strikes and house-to-house searches.

On May 23, heavily-armed militants attacked the city of about 200,000 people when the military was searching for a leader of Abu Sayyaf hidden in the city.

"We are still investigating, conducting an investigation headed by the Chief of Staff on what really happened; kung nagkaroon ba ng miscommunication or was there an error by somebody there on the ground or on the air sa parte ng piloto", he said.

Hapilon, the militant leader wanted by the U.S. for his alleged involvement in kidnappings and bomb attacks that also targeted Americans in the Philippines, is still believed to be in Marawi.

The conflict began after security forces attempted to capture top militant leader Isnilon Hapilon, who is considered as the Islamic State's leader in the Philippines. "I will not talk to anybody", he said on Wednesday.

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