Philippine army sends more troops to defeat Islamist rebels in Marawi

Philippine army sends more troops to defeat Islamist rebels in Marawi
By Euronews with AP, REUTERS
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The Philippines deploys more troops to defeat Islamist rebels in the southern city of Marawi, while hundreds of civilians wait to be evacuated.

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The Philippine military on Thursday deployed more troops to the southern city of Marawi, stormed by Islamist militants last week.

The army says it has retaken around 90 percent of the city, but the heavy fighting has killed around 130 people so far.

Provincial Management Crisis Committee spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong told journalists about 34 residents were rescued by soldiers after securing more ground from the rebels. He estimated over 2,000 people were still trapped inside the city.

WATCH: Rangers rescue women, children trapped in Marawi. Full story: https://t.co/K7sGaRaoK8pic.twitter.com/vpL7ku1e2x

— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) May 31, 2017

Violence flared in Marawi on May 23 after troops launched a raid to capture militant leader Isnilon Hapilon, who has been designated leader of the Islamic State group’s Southeast Asia branch.

But the mission went awry and Hapilon got away with fighters loyal to him surprising government forces with their firepower.

In response President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the region, for fear that extremism could spread further across the country’s south.

#Philippines military kills 89 Islamist militants in offensive on southern city of #Marawihttps://t.co/d3OgkpWLM5pic.twitter.com/rmEkGhPd1J

— AFP news agency (@AFP) May 31, 2017

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