Published: Sat, June 10, 2017
Life&Culture | By Kristin Armstrong

Philippine marines killed in fighting with militants

Philippine marines killed in fighting with militants

MANILA- The military is confirming reports that Maute brothers Omar and Madie were killed in clashes between government troops and Islamic State-linked terrorists in Marawi City. In 2002, the United States helped Philippine authorities track down Abu Sayyaf leader Abu Sabaya, who was killed in that operation.

Herrera also said there are "strong indications" that Omarkhayam and Madie Maute, two leaders of the Marawi attack, were killed in separate operations.

A 15-year-old boy was also killed by a stray bullet as he took part in Friday prayers at a mosque in Marawi as the skirmishes raged outside, an AFP video journalist said.

"There was an intense, house-to-house fire fight between the marines and the local terrorist group", Jo-Ar Herrera, army spokesman, told a televised press conference.

The plane was dropping the bomb on Islamic extremists who have laid a long siege in a southern city of the country, the military had said.

They initially estimated there were about 100 gunmen but later said there were as many as 500, supplemented by foreign fighters from Chechnya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

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Herrera said Farhana has been transported away from Marawi City to a "safe place", and is now currently undergoing investigation.

About 40 foreigners have fought alongside the Philippine militants in Marawi City, a lot of them from Indonesia and Malaysia, though some came from the Middle East.

Their involvement comes after months of strain between the two allies stoked by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's hostility towards Washington and his pledges to evict USA troops, who have long provided training and assistance.

Washington deployed special forces soldiers to Mindanao in 2002 to train and advise Philippine units fighting the Abu Sayyaf group in an operation that once involved 1,200 Americans.

It was discontinued in 2015 but a small presence remained for logistics and technical support.

"The United States is a proud ally of the Philippines, and we will continue to work with the Philippines to address shared threats to the peace and security of our countries, including on counterterrorism issues".

A U.S. Navy aircraft provided surveillance for the local troops as the battle raged in Marawi on Friday, confirming the involvement of the U.S. military in helping quell the urban insurrection at the request of the Philippine government, Philippine military officials said.

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