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Philippines Uses Airstrikes to Retake ISIS Controlled City

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The Philippines have launched airstrikes on a Muslim city that has been taken over by ISIS fighters. More than a hundred people have died, and 70,000 have fled from Marawi. Marawi is located on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. The Maute Islamist militant group has entered the city, and is in combat with the police and military. “Precision airstrikes are (being) judiciously used to prevent collateral damage and employed at specific targets of resistance to protect our troops and hasten clearing of the city of terrorist elements who continue to resist,” said Brigadier General Restituto Padilla. The island of Mindanao has a large Muslim population, but the Philippines itself is mainly Catholic.

The Maute Militant group has set fires to churches, and other buildings. They entered Marawi burning their way through, and waving the Islamic State flag (the ISIS flag). Fmilies have packed their things, and hit the road. There is constant traffic because of all of the people fleeing from the fighters. A witness said, “Sporadic gunfire erupted throughout the day as helicopters flew over the city.” Officials say that the Maute group is defending Isnilon Hapilon, a terrorist leader. Hapilon is still in the city of Marawi. He has a 5 million dollar FBI bounty on his head. More than 80 militants, 17 soldiers, and 3 police officers have died in the fighting. Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the island of Mindanao.

“If this martial law lasts and you want to help us fight for the republic, … I will use you as soldiers, with the same pay, privileges, and I will build houses for you,” Duterte said. Militants had executed more than a dozen people, and numerous others had been taken hostage. An airstrike was launched on a Maute position. The airstrike hit some buildings, and 11 hostages ran out of their building. The group of hostages swam across the river outside the building and escaped to the other side. The surviving hostages said that one of their friends was beheaded in front of him. Duterte suggested he might extend martial law until the end of the year.

 

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/30/asia/philippines-marawi-isis-hapilon/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/01/the-philippine-suicide-squad-saving-civilians-trapped-on-isis-frontline

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