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Gov't troops kill 9 terrorists in fresh offensives in Marawi

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Government forces continued to hit the Daesh-linked terror groups' positions in Marawi City, inflicting some losses on them on Thursday, the military said.

Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Armed Forces' Western Mindanao Command, told reporters here at least eight Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists were killed in the latest offensives.

She said the troops continued to engage in more intense firefights against the terrorists, with military airstrikes and artillery fire starting at around 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.

"Those enemies who died in the offensives include men of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon who are digging for a tunnel under a mosque trying to escape the battle zne or reach the lake (Agus River)," she added.

The military had earlier confirmed that Hapilon was still alive and inside the war zone, despite earlier reports that he had escaped along with Abdullah and Omar Maute, local leaders of the Daesh group.

According to Petinglay, the number of deaths now on the side of Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists has increased from 539 to 548, while 122 soldiers have died due to the continuous fighting in the main battle area.

She said fighting continuous in about a square kilometer general area where the terrorists are currently held up and that there are still hostages with the group numbering to an estimated 50 to 70.

She also said a blue armored vehicle with the word "DASIA" printed in front, was recovered by soldiers last week in one of the structures being cleared by soldiers in the main battle area.

The vehicle was recovered by troops of the Joint Task Force Marawi, following heavy gunfire with Maute remnants in a strategic structure previously held by terrorists.

During the first month of fighting, a picture was posted in the internet showing Abdullah Maute riding the vehicle in one of the streets of Marawi with an ISIS flag in front of the vehicle.

The military said soldiers have seen terrorists using the same armored car when attacking soldier's positions.

"Last week, the car was found in one of the strategic structures believed to be utilized as a stronghold of the Daesh-inspired Maute terror Group," said Petinglay.

"Further, the building where it was found is believed to be used by the terrorists as a storage area and temporary base that houses most of their wounded."

Petinglay said found also in the building is a tunnel where the Maute remnants store their food, bullets, and weapons.

The recent capture of one of the terrorist's strongholds connotes that the troops are advancing towards the battle positions of Maute remnants, signifying that the terrorists are already contained in a narrower engagement area.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the whole island of Mindanao after pro-Daesh terror group Maute laid siege to Marawi City on May 23.

As of 29 July 2017, the armed conflict has resulted in 359,680 people displaced, with many of them living in host communities or across the 75 evacuation centres.

Over 200,000 children have also been displaced. Many of those living in host-communities are affected by scarcity of household resources, including food and school supplies, in one of the poorest areas in the country.

But Duterte believes that military rule would hasten solve terrorism in the troubled southern Philippines. Hader Glang




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