Local ISIS militants, led by Omar Maute, attack army soldiers in the besieged city of Marawi in this screen shot from a video released recently by the Islamic State through its Amaq News. (Mindanao Examiner Photos)
MARAWI CITY – A video clip released recently by ISIS showed one of its local leaders and militants fighting security forces in the besieged city of Marawi in southern Philippines.
The two-minute clip, released by the ISIS-run Amaq News Agency, showed a small group of militants 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. But 9 army soldiers were killed and over two dozen others injured in fierce clashes with local ISIS militants in Marawi over the weekend. Officials said the fighting left 26 soldiers wounded. “Just yesterday, 9 soldiers got killed and 26 others were wounded during an intense whole day of fighting in downtown Marawi,” said Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command.
Petinglay gave no other details, but at least 100 soldiers have so far died in the battle since May 23 when local militants occupied Marawi, the capital of Lanao del Sur in the Muslim autonomous region. The extremists, whose members are mostly from various jihadist groups, have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and vowed to put up a caliphate in the troubled region.
The military insisted that over 400 militants were also killed in the violence, but officials gave little proof 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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