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Philippine troops bomb Islamist militants holding hostages in city

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Philippine and US Military Police training

Philippine and US Military Police conduct training. Photo: Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth.

PanARMENIAN.Net – Philippine security forces bombed a southern city on Thursday, May 25 as they battled Islamist militants who were holding hostages and reported to have murdered at least 11 civilians, according to AFP.

An initial rampage by the gunmen, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, through the mainly Muslim city of Marawi on Tuesday prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to impose martial law across the southern third of the Philippines.

Authorities said ending the crisis was proving extremely hard because, although there were only 30 to 40 remaining gunmen, the militants were moving nimbly through homes, had planted bombs in the streets and were holding hostages.

Intense gunfighting could be heard constantly throughout the day, according to an AFP reporter in the city, and the military said it had dropped bombs on residential neighbourhoods.

“We are using surgical airstrikes,” local military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera told reporters in Marawi shortly before big clouds of black smoke rose from a bombed area near the provincial government building.

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