World Bulletin / News Desk
Thirteen Philippine marines were killed and 51 wounded on Friday evening in a fierce 16-hour firefight between government forces and the ISIL-linked Maute group in the besieged southern city of Marawi.
The latest death toll in the ongoing fight for Marawi is 217: 58 from the government side, 138 militants, and 21 civilians.
Philippine Army 1st Infantry Division spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera was quoted by ABS-CBN News as saying that the fatalities were marines who were rescuing trapped civilians in the conflict-torn city.
Herrera added that troops had difficulty rescuing trapped civilians since the militants are well-positioned in mosques and are using civilians as human shields.
Reports from GMA News says the soldiers’ encounter with the militants started Friday morning and lasted until the evening.
Radio dzBB reported that among those killed were members of the same unit that recovered 79 million pesos ($1.6M) in cash and checks from the terrorists’ stronghold earlier this week.
The clash came in the wake of the arrest Friday of Ominta Romato "Farhana" Maute, the mother of Omar and Abdullah Maute, the Maute group’s leaders.
Farhana was nabbed along with two wounded Maute fighters after their vehicles were intercepted in the town of Masiu, Lanao del Sur -- some 36 kilometers from the warzone -- ARMM Regional Police Director Reuben Theodore Sindac was quoted by ABS-CBN news as saying.
According to unnamed sources speaking to the news outlet, Farhana was the group's courier, financier, and link to foreign terror groups, and her arrest could either demoralize Maute group members or push the group to become more aggressive.
The ongoing clashes broke out on May 23 when the ISIL-linked terror group attacked Marawi, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law across the entire southern island of Mindanao.Last Mod: 10 Haziran 2017, 13:40