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m3n4.net December 19, 2018


Pro-IS militants continue fierce fight in Philippines' Marawi

18 October 2017, 12:22 | Tara Lloyd

Pro-IS militants continue fierce fight in Philippines' Marawi

Pro-IS militants continue fierce fight in Philippines' Marawi

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.

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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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"The Marawi incident is nearly over and we may announce the termination of hostilities in a couple of days", Lorenzana said. They were also able to recover 17 hostages.

Since then more than 1,000 people have been killed and 400,000 residents displaced as insurgents were hit with a relentless bombing campaign and intense ground battles with troops.

Other members of the Maute clan meanwhile can sustain their alliance with the Abu Sayyaf, the professor added.

However an analyst said the deaths of the leaders would likely prompt retaliatory attacks from their followers and allies, with young leaders seeking to take their place.

The military plans to target the Abu Sayyaf group and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters once the Marawi crisis ends in a bid to end terrorism in Mindanao.

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