World Bulletin / News Desk
Nearly two months after the ISIL-linked Maute group laid siege to Marawi, military chief Gen. Eduardo Año said Monday that 50 more buildings that were militant strongholds had been cleared by government forces.
Año said troops were able to retake one tall building Sunday and they are slowly liberating Marawi from the terrorists.
“We'll have one final push to really break their line and finally clear the whole area of Marawi," Año was quoted by GMA News.
Año said Maute militants occupy less than one square kilometer of Marawi but building checks are being done cautiously not to bypass any structure that may harm soldiers or trapped civilians.
He declined to set a deadline for the end of the crisis.
The death toll as of Monday stands at 553: 411 militants, 97 government troops and 45 civilians.
The siege in Marawi, which began May 23 following government forces’ failed attempt to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the most senior ISIL figure in the Philippines, prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to impose 60 days of martial law on the island of Mindanao that is set to expire July 22.
Duterte on Monday sought a 60-day extension of military rule and has asked lawmakers to meet July 22 to discuss his request.
Under Philippine law, the martial law proclamation may be extended only by Congress for a period to be determined by lawmakers if the invasion or rebellion persists and public safety requires it.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas confirmed to GMA News that a special session to accommodate Duterte’s request will be held.
"Duterte mentioned the period, but let's wait for his formal letter to Congress," Fariñas was quoted by the news outlet.Last Mod: 18 Temmuz 2017, 10:59