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Philippines: Thousands flee as army fights Islamist rebels

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By Euronews
Philippines: Thousands flee as army fights Islamist rebels

<p>Tens of thousands of people have fled the besieged Philippine city of Marawi, amid fierce clashes between government forces and Islamist militants.</p> <p>Foreign fighters are said to be among the extremists who have taken over the southern city.</p> <p>Officials say the rebels are trying to win recognition from <span class="caps">ISIL</span> and join its self-proclaimed caliphate.</p> <p><br /> </p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Philippines says Indonesians and Malaysians fighting alongside IS-linked rebels in Mindanao <a href="https://t.co/Bls7cl6jkJ">https://t.co/Bls7cl6jkJ</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/JeromeCMorales">@JeromeCMorales</a> <a href="https://t.co/WStErmMScI">pic.twitter.com/WStErmMScI</a></p>— Clare Baldwin (@clarebaldwin) <a href="https://twitter.com/clarebaldwin/status/867968507958353921">26 mai 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p><br /> </p> <p>One displaced man, Saddat Linog, said that his house was destroyed in the fighting and that his children fear for their lives.</p> <p>“I was shot at from a helicopter as I was making my way home,” he said.</p> <p>“Fortunately, I avoided being hit. I went to our house and knocked on the door. No one answered so I thought they had been killed. Then my wife called, asking why our house was being targeted.”</p> <p>At least 61 militants were killed and 15 security forces as of Saturday, according to the army.</p> <p>But civilians are also among the dead. On Sunday, at least eight bodies were found in a ditch outside the city on Mindanao island where President Duterte has imposed martial law.</p> <p><br /> </p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">An armed group pledging allegiance to ISIL laid siege to a major city in the Philippines. <a href="https://t.co/zNDGXFQQRd">pic.twitter.com/zNDGXFQQRd</a></p>— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) <a href="https://twitter.com/AJEnglish/status/867406386514325506">24 mai 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p><br /> </p> <p>Most had been shot in the head. Some had their hands tied behind their backs.</p> <p>Police said they were carpenters pulled off an evacuation convoy by militants because they were unable to cite verses from the Koran.</p> <p><br /> </p> <p><em>with Reuters</em></p>