jh-siesta.com January 19, 2018

Philippine troops battle IS-linked gunmen in southern city

25 May 2017, 08:03 | Ignacio Ramos

Philippine troops battle IS-linked gunmen in southern city

Clash erupts as Philippine troops raid hideout of IS-linked fighters

Social media published photos of militants driving around the town in a police vehicle they had seized, flying a black Isis-style flag on the roof. They understand that the presence of President Duterte is essential in the Philippines but I will be staying behind.

"Unfortunately I must go there now", he said.

The President's scheduled bilateral meetings with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev "will be postponed", Mr. Cayetano said, adding that Mr. Duterte will likely talk to the two Russian officials via phone.

In metropolitan Manila's downtown Quiapo district, where a bomb blast earlier this month killed two people and wounded four others in a Muslim community, police Wednesday put up checkpoints, stopping motorists to inspect cars and checking documents of motorcycle riders.

Authorities estimated the number of extremists who occupied buildings, including City Hall, at around 100.

The emergency declaration took immediate effect and will last for 60 days, according to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, who made the announcement on Tuesday from Russian Federation, where Duterte was on a scheduled four-day official visit.

Abella said martial law would be in place for 60 days.

Mindanao is made up of a large island of the same name, plus smaller islands, and the region of about 20 million people makes up roughly one third of the mainly Catholic country.

Martial law allows Duterte to use the armed forces to carry out arrests, searches and detentions more rapidly.

The 103rd Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines moved in to take down Hapilon, one of the world's most-wanted militants, but "troops were met by bullets from the Maute group, triggering a fierce firefight", said Colonel Jo-ar Herrera, the spokesperson for the Army's 1st Infantry Division.

The group, which is also known as the Islamic State of Lanao, have reportedly received support from ISIS.

The hashtag #PrayforMarawi has been used, and archbishop Villegas implored fervent prayer for Fr Chito and rest of the hostages.

An estimated 600 fighters from South-east Asian nations are fighting in Syria and Iraq.

"Tension is so high in Marawi City", Lucman said on Wednesday.

Violence in Marawi began Tuesday when security forces raided the hideout of Abu Sayyaf commander Isnilon Hapilon, who has proclaimed allegiance to Islamic State.

He is believed to be recovering from wounds sustained in a military strike in January.

"This is possible on the grounds of the existence of rebellion", he added.

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