Published: Sun, June 25, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

The US Joins the Philippines in a Battle Against ISIS

The US Joins the Philippines in a Battle Against ISIS

The militants are, meanwhile, using their hostages as mules, cooks and human shields, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Jay-Ar Herrera, spokesman for Task Force Marawi.

U.S. special forces are helping the Philippine military retake the southern city of Marawi from militants.

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines said 202 terrorists and 58 soldiers and policemen were killed after three weeks of struggle to completely drive out the Maute Group from Marawi City.

The seizure of Marawi by fighters allied to the IS, including some from the Middle East, has alarmed South-east Asian nations, which fear the ultra-radical group - on the backfoot in Iraq and Syria - is trying to set up a stronghold on Mindanao that could threaten the region.

Ten people ran through gunfire to escape fighting in a Philippine city seized by militants, as five more civilians deaths were reported.

Tearful rescue workers, soldiers and firemen sang the national anthem and listened to speeches at the first flag raising in the southern city since May 23, when the twice-weekly ceremony was halted by a massive siege on the city by Islamist fighters.

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Relentless air strikes have wreaked havoc on the ground, with many homes damaged beyond recognition.

Duterte's trip, which was supposed to be until May 26, was cut short due to the violence that erupted in Marawi City, the capital of Lanao del Sur province, prompting him to declare martial law throughout Mindanao.

Farhana's arrest was expected to have "an impact" on the local terrorists because she was allegedly providing logistical and financial support to them and facilitating links to global organizations, Herrera said.

The Filipino president did not comment on allegations that Philippines military officials bypassed his authority to request assistance from US Special Forces, instead remarking that, "our soldiers are pro-American, that I can not deny".

Perched on buildings, some connected by tunnels that gave them mobility, the snipers have made it hard for troops to wrest back areas under the rebels' control. Military officials believe Hapilon is still in the town. A US P3 Orion surveillance plane was seen flying over the town on Friday, media said.

One of the main Islamist factions dug in around the heart of the city is the Maute group, a relative newcomer amid the throng of insurgents, separatists and bandits on Mindanao.

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Indonesia's military chief says Jakarta is looking to establish joint patrols with the Philippines and Malaysia for protection against Islamic State.

As the conflict intensifies, the United States embassy in Manila said on Saturday American forces were providing assistance to the Filipino troops, although it declined to give details for security reasons.

The Philippine government learned days in advance of a plan by Muslim militants aligned with the Islamic State group to lay siege to a southern city, and staged an army raid on a militant hideout that prevented a bigger and deadlier attack, officials said Tuesday.

"So far, we have not found any indication of Islamic militants infiltrating from the Philippines to our territory", Warsito said.

"The United States will continue to provide support and assistance to Philippine counter-terrorism efforts".

While the flag-raising was mainly for Independence Day, it also symbolized the reclaiming of city hall and other areas of Marawi by government forces.

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