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ISIS-linked group under heavy fire in the Philippines as civilians flee

A Filipino government troop conducts patrol on a reclaimed former Maute stronghold in Marawi City, Mindanao Island, southern Philippines on May 30, 2017, as fighting between Islamist militants and government forces continues. According to news reports, more than a 100 people have been killed in ongoing clashes between rebels and the Philippine army in Marawi in southern Philippines, a government spokesperson said. At least four rebels from the Maute group – with links to the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS, ISIL) – and two soldiers were killed on 30 May, government spokesperson Ernesto Abella, said in a press conference. Since the clashes broke out a week ago, the number of casualties has climbed to 104, including 19 civilians, 65 rebels, 17 soldiers and three police officers. The clashes began on 23 May when an army offensive to capture Isnilon Hapilon, leader of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, also loyal to the IS, and who was sheltered by members of the Maute group in Marawi, had failed. (Francis R. Malasig/EPA)

ISIS-linked group under heavy fire in the Philippines as civilians flee

The Philippine military urged Islamist militants occupying a southern city to turn themselves in on Tuesday, the eighth day of a push by security forces using armored vehicles and firing rockets from helicopters to eliminate the gunmen.

The government says it is close to retaking Marawi from the Islamic State-linked Maute group, which seized parts of the city after a failed attempt by security forces to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the militants’ so-called emir of Southeast Asia.

Graphic on battle for Marawi >>>

“We call on the remaining terrorists to surrender while there is an opportunity,” a military spokesman, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, told reporters.

As helicopters circled the lakeside city where smoke billowed out of some buildings, troops cleared rebel positions amid explosions and automatic gunfire, moving house by house and street by street.

More than 100 people have been killed, most of them militants, according to the military, and most of the city’s residents have fled.

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