Philippine military says 13 soldiers killed in Friday's battle with militants

Wendy Jensen
June 10, 2017

The Philippine military today said that thirteen of its marines were killed on Friday in fierce gun battles with Islamist militants who have laid siege to southern Marawi city for almost a month now.

The US embassy in Manila and the Philippine military were quoted by the Reuters news agency Saturday as saying that US special operations forces were "assisting" in Marawi where 200,000 residents have been displaced by urban battles.

"This temporary setback has not diminished our resolve a bit", said military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo.

Lt. Col. Joar Herrera said they are still validating the number of the wounded troopers but confirmed 13 members of the Philippine Marines were killed in one day including the company commander who conducted clearing operations which found P52.2 million cash and P27 million-worth of checks in a house in Marawi City.

At least 20 civilians and around 138 terrorists have also been killed, the government said.

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"As long as we sustain the fight, as long as we are able to destroy the elements of the local terrorist group we can reach that", he said of the June 12 target.

Militants have been under siege since rampaging through the southern city on 23 May.

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Until now there had been no confirmation that the Philippines had sought United States support in the battle for Marawi City on the island of Mindanao, which is in its third week.

It was among the heaviest fighting in the standoff, with the air force supporting ground troops with sustained bombing runs that battered the city.

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Military casualties stemmed from intense, house-to-house fighting and the militant's use of improvised explosive devices, Herrera added.

They initially estimated there were about 100 gunmen but later said there were as many as 500, supplemented by foreign fighters from Chechnya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

When asked, he said USA forces were not part of the ground operations against terrorists in Marawi. A US P3 Orion surveillance plane was seen flying over the town on Friday, but there has been no evidence that the United States has put troops on the ground there.

Philippine troops have been battling the Maute group, which claims allegiance with Islamic State, in Marawi for more than two weeks.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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