Islamic State claims killing 19 soldiers in the besieged city of Marawi in southern Philippines.
MARAWI CITY – Local ISIS militants have killed 19 soldiers in an ambush in the besieged city of Marawi where security forces are battling jihadists straight for over two months now, the Islamic State said.
The Islamic State made the announcement on Friday through its Amaq News after the deadly attack on a group of government troops sent to fight the militants. The Philippine military did not issue any statement regarding the claim.
Fighting has entered its 3rd month and President Rodrigo Duterte said it may be over soon, but there is no sign the militants are backing down. The local jihadists, composed of Abu Sayyaf fighters and members of the Maute clan, and other pro-ISIS groups are also being backed up by foreign militants – some came from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, according to the Philippine military.
Just recently, Amaq News also released a video clip showing local ISIS militants fighting security forces in Marawi. The two-minute clip showed a small group of fighters led by Omar Maute firing at soldiers from a house they occupied in a village at the heart of the city.
Maute and his elder brother Abdullah were previously reported by the military to have died – along with nearly 400 militants – in clashes with army soldiers, although security officials provided no proof of this, except for intelligence information allegedly provided by civilians.
In the video, militants – armed with automatic weapons and sniper rifles, could be seen firing at soldiers, but it was unclear whether there had been casualties in the fighting. It was unknown whether military officials had seen the video which was released by ISIS website on July 20.
The military said over 100 soldiers have so far died with more than 900 wounded in the battle since May 23 when local militants occupied Marawi, the capital of Lanao del Sur in the Muslim autonomous region. The extremists have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and vowed to put up a caliphate in the troubled region.
The military insisted that over 500 militants were also killed in the battle, but officials gave little or no proof at all to back up the claims, although dozens of civilians were also slain in the battle that displaced some 200,000 people. (Mindanao Examiner)
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