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Pro-IS militants continue fierce fight in Philippines' Marawi
18 October 2017, 12:22 | Tara Lloyd
The Leaders of the ISIS Assault on Marawi in the Philippines Have Been Killed
Ahmad is the top remaining target for government forces battling to end the almost five-month siege of Marawi that has claimed more than 1,000 lives and left the Islamic city in ruins.
"Once more, CBCP is the hapless victim of fake news", CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a statement.
Four military and police officials earlier told The Associated Press that Isnilon Hapilon, who is listed among the FBI's most-wanted terror suspects, and Omarkhayam Maute were killed in a gunbattle and their bodies were found Monday.
President Rodrigo Duterte and security analysts say Hapilon has been a key figure in the jihadist outfit's drive to establish a Southeast Asian caliphate as they suffer battlefield defeats in Iraq and Syria.
The military said Monday Hapilon - on the United States "most wanted terrorists" list - was killed in a dawn offensive alongside Omarkhayam Maute, one of two brothers who with Hapilon plotted to take over the city.
Security officials believe Hapilon's death is significant, considering he was the uniting factor in Marawi, and that the blow to the global terror network is also serious, especially since the he was named by Daesh as emir of Southeast Asia.
Military leaders had said last month that three leaders of the Islamic State-linked militants who besieged the southern city were killed in the months of fighting but the two still alive were leading a final stand.
The head of the Prelature of Marawi believes the reported death of terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute will pave the way to the end of the conflict in the city.
The Philippine government had offered a 10m Philippines peso bounty for Hapilon on top of the $5m reward offered by the US.
"But it could be him, he could be the one tasked to lead their group in the whole of Asia", he said.
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