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Iran Press TV

Philippine army kills two Daesh militant leaders in push to free Marawi

Iran Press TV

Mon Oct 16, 2017 08:07AM

Philippine troops have killed two senior militant leaders affiliated with the notorious Daesh terror group as they press ahead with an operation to liberate the southern militant-held city of Marawi.

Isnilon Hapilon, Daesh's "emir" in Southeast Asia, and Omarkhayam Maute, one of two brothers at the helm of the Takfiri Maute militant group, were killed in a raid on a building in Marawi, the Philippine Defense Ministry said.

"We were able to get a testimony from a hostage. She was able to confirm the presence of Isnilon and Maute in that particular building. That's the building that we assaulted early this morning," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters on Monday.

Lorenzana added that the battle for Marawi could be over imminently, adding that 17 hostages were rescued on Monday. "The indication here is that the Marawi incident is close to the end. We may announce the termination of hostilities in the couple of days."

Another senior Daesh leader, Abdullah Maute, the group's military commander, was reported by the army to have been killed in August.

The elimination of the two militant leaders has been cited as a major victory for the Filipino military, which has been criticized for its slow progress in retaking Marawi.

Hundreds of armed extremists launched an offensive in Marawi on May 23. The Philippine military says Hapilon joined forces with the Maute group to plan the rampage.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte then deployed thousands of troops and imposed martial law across the southern third of the country to deal with the crisis.

The country's armed forces are conducting ground and aerial operations to free the city.

Since late May, more than 1,000 people have been killed and 400,000 residents displaced from the conflict zone.

Rommel Banlaoi, head of the Philippine Institute for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said Monday's operation was a "tremendous setback" to the Daesh-linked groups in the region, but warned the battle against extremism was far from over.

"The death of the two leaders shall not make our law enforcement complacent," he told news channel ANC. "We have seen many times in the past, the death of key leaders will not prevent the terrorist organizations from wreaking havoc."



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