At least 44 have been killed in the ongoing fighting in Marawi City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said late Thursday night.
PHOTO: Male residents are frisked by police at a checkpoint as they leave Marawi city in southern Philippines Thursday, May 25, 2017. Army tanks packed with soldiers rolled into the southern Philippine city Thursday to try to restore control after ISIS-linked militants launched a violent siege that sent thousands of people fleeing for their lives and raised fears of extremists gaining traction in the country. AP
Thirteen government troops were killed since the gun battle started on Tuesday afternoon. Six soldiers were killed in fresh clashes Thursday, bringing the death toll among soldiers at 11, the Western Mindanao Command said.
Two policemen were killed.
Meanwhile, 18 members of the Maute group were killed in fresh gun battle as government troops cleared two bridges heading towards Bangulo. This brings the fatalities on the terrorist groups to 31.
“As of this report, 31 terrorists were already neutralized and 6 high-powered firearms were recovered by the troops,” said Army’s First Infantry Division commander Brig. Gen. Rolando Bautista.
“Our troops are doing deliberate operations in the areas we believe are still occupied or infested with the terrorists’ presence,” he added.
In a press briefing earlier, the military said they have also launched ‘precise’ air strikes to go after the remaining 30 to 40 members of the Maute group.
They have also deployed army tanks, special operations forces, as well as attack helicopters, to retake the predominantly Muslim city.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the entire Mindanao a few hours after the fighting erupted on Tuesday. IDL