Published: Thu, June 22, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Islamic State cells in nearly all Indonesian provinces - military chief

Islamic State cells in nearly all Indonesian provinces - military chief

Bomb blasts rocked Marawi City in the southern Philippines yesterday as the national flag was raised to mark independence day, nearly three weeks after hundreds of Islamist militants overran the town and hunkered down with civilians as human shields.

In a statement provided to Defense News, a U.S. Special Operations Command Pacific spokeswoman said, "U.S. special operations forces are assisting the AFP with ongoing operations in Marawi that helps AFP commanders on the ground in their fight against Maute and ASG militants" at the request of the Philippine government.

A P-3 Orion surveillance plane was seen flying over Marawi last Friday, said local media reports. The aircraft flew above rocket-firing Philippine helicopters that struck militant positions, causing plumes of smoke to billow skyward.

The two countries are bound by a 1951 mutual defense treaty, though Duterte has tried to steer the Philippines away from United States influence since he became president past year. "It's noncombat assistance", military spokesman Brig.

China supports the Philippine government's "anti-terrorism" operations against Islamist militants, the Chinese foreign ministry said yesterday after USA special forces provided support to Filipino troops, reported AFP.

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ISIS also released a video on Monday, via its Amaq propaganda news agency, that it said showed terrorists shooting six people in Marawi, said the US-based Site monitoring service.There were tearful scenes in Marawi yesterday morning after five Muslim policemen and five Christian construction workers sprinted about 2km from the militant-controlled areas to safety. "Numerous civilians or residents in this community have fled", said Santos.

Forty other marines were wounded, Herrera said.

According to the government, at least 26 civilians, 58 police or soldiers and 202 militants have been killed since the fighting began.

This isn't the first time the government's deadlines to win back the city have proved overly optimistic.

Military spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo confirmed on Tuesday a rescue operation had taken place.

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Just before Game 2 of the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals between San Miguel and Star, the PBA offered a meaningful salute to honor the courageous people that offered their lives while serving in Marawi City. Ominta Romato Maute was arrested in the town of Masiu, Lanao del Sur.

"This is dedicated to the soldiers who offered their lives to implement our mission in Marawi City", said Colonel Jose Maria Cuerpo, commander of a Philippine Army brigade fighting in Marawi.

Duterte cut short a state visit to Russian Federation and declared 60 days of martial law over the island of Mindanao when fighting broke out in May.

Padilla estimated that about 100 militants were still fighting - down from the 400-500 believed to have stormed the town - but even with only "remnants" holding out, progress was slow for government troops because of the urban terrain.

Philippine security forces have struggled to dislodge hundreds of Muslim extremists, from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups, who seized large parts of Marawi on May 23, after a botched raid on the hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, designated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as the head of its South-east Asia wing.

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