MARAWI CITY – Three soldiers were killed and over 4 dozens wounded when an improvised explosive went off in the war-ravaged city of Marawi where security forces are battling local ISIS fighters for four months now.
More than 50 soldiers suffered from shrapnel wounds in the blast on Thursday and raising military casualties to over 1,000 since fighting erupted on May 23 when militants occupied Marawi and declared it a province of the Islamic State.
The military insisted more than 600 militants had been killed and the figures were based mostly on intelligence reports, but some 136 soldiers and 45 civilians also perished in the violence that displaced more than 200,000 people.
Troops were having a hard time clearing structures previously occupied by militants because of booby traps and explosives planted by ISIS fighters aimed at delaying or killing advancing soldiers.
The militants were still holding dozens of civilian hostages, including a Catholic priest and church workers, however, military aerial attacks and artillery continue in areas under ISIS control. It was unknown how many civilians had died from the military assault.
President Rodrigo Duterte has given the military full control over the operations against ISIS and this includes targeting places of worships where militants have taken over. (With a report from Rhoderick Beñez)
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