Hapilon, Omar Maute killed in Marawi fighting-Lorenzana

Philippines Army says Islamists making 'last stand' in Marawi
Pro-IS militants continue fierce fight in Philippines' Marawi
Author

18 October, 2017

Isnilon Hapilon's reported death came during a final push to end the almost five-month siege of Marawi, a battle that has claimed more than 1,000 lives and raised fears that IS was seeking to set up a regional base in the southern Philippines.

"But the negative side is they lost two prominent leaders that have been there for a long, long time and who have provided a lot of direction", Padilla said in the same interview.

"Following their operational plan, they were able to go this morning. they were killed", Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters.

Following his appointment, Hapilon, based in Basilan, combined his terror unit with the Maute Group in central Mindanao. Officials said that Isnilon Hapilon, who is listed among the FBI's most-wanted terror suspects, and Omarkhayam Maute were killed in a gunbattle and their bodies were found Monday in Marawi.

Ano said troops are focused on rescuing the remaining hostages, which number around 22.

Gunfire rang out sporadically and explosions thudded as Philippine soldiers fought Tuesday to gain control of the last pocket of Marawi controlled by Islamic militants as President Rodrigo Duterte declared the southern city liberated from "terrorist influence".

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I want to express my solidarity with the families". "I deeply regret this tragedy with the children in Janaúba (MG)". The incident occurred in a modest quarter of Janauba, a city of 70,000 about 600km north of Belo Horizonte city.

However, AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año stressed in a press briefing in Marawi, also on Tuesday, assured that just because the battle is near its end, it does not mean that there will be a "letup" in their operations. DNA tests will be carried out on the two bodies because of the reward offer from the USA and Philippine governments, Lorenzana said.

Since then more than 1,000 people have been killed and 400,000 residents displaced.

"As days passed, they (terrorists) each took [their] own [share of the loot] and hid the money so that when they can escape, they can come back for it", Año said.

On the other hand, Omar Maute and his brother Abdullah founded a group named after them that pledged allegiance to the Daesh following their return to the Philippines from their studies in Egypt where the imbibed the Daesh teachings.

Marawi is Lanao del Sur's capital and largest city.

A Philippine military spokesman says troops are being careful in the intense fighting with militants in Marawi city because of concerns for the safety of the 50 to 100 hostages still being held by the Islamic State group-linked militants. He said "the Maute-IS have established very strong defensive positions", adding that the IS fighters were hiding in dugouts and basements of occupied buildings. "It's going to be a new battle".


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