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Ten government soldiers killed in Philippines military air strike: minister

02 Juin 2017

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said Hapilon is believed to still be in Marawi. Wednesday was the first day the SF-260 planes were deployed. "It's so hard to live in this evacuation camp", said Dimangadap, a single mother of five.

ReutersDozens of foreign jihadis have fought side-by-side with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group sympathizers against security forces in the southern Philippines over the past week, evidence that the restive region is fast becoming an Asian hub for the ultra-radical group.

Most of Marawi's 200,000 residents have fled, but about 2,000 civilians were trapped in militant-held areas, the Marawi local government said.

He said the remaining terrorists had occupied vantage points in the three villages from where they could quickly spot approaching government forces.

"We call on the Maute group that claims to bear arms in the name of a Merciful and Benevolent God - the very same God we Christians worship and adore - to do the One God true honor by the mercy and benevolence that are two of our God's most exalted attributes", he said May 24.

The urban battle prompted Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to impose martial law across the whole island of Mindanao, an area roughly the size of South Korea with a population of around 21 million.

A video posted on the website of Islamic State's Amaq news agency shows fighters alongside bodies of dead soldiers inside a vehicle.

Amid martial law declaration, Duterte reiterated his instruction to the government forces to intensify offensives and kill militants who will resist his orders.

The island of Mindanao has always been a base for local Islamic radicals in the Philippines, and government officials say they're also getting outside help.

MindaNews reported that Suganob's video mentioned, "Mr. President, please follow your heart, please consider us".

Philippine intelligence sources report that around 500 Islamic militants participated in the assault on Marawi, which government security forces have been fighting to liberate since May 23.

Lorenzana added that the failed airstrike was the first accident of its kind in the history of the Philippine air force and that the military would investigate what went wrong to prevent future incidents.

The announcement of the friendly fire deaths brings the number of security forces killed to 31, and the combined death toll to 139.

At least 177 people have been killed in the violence which erupted nine days ago after soldiers launched a raid to capture militant leader Isnilon Hapilon, who has been spotted in Marawi. Hapilon is wanted by US law enforcement, but dozens of militants took to the streets to defend him and rampaged through Marawi.

The Maute is a local armed group led by the Maute family, who are believed to be former members of the MILF.

Malaysians, Singaporean, Indonesian and other fighters had been involved in the unrest, according to the military.

Attack helicopters fired rockets repeatedly on Wednesday into the pockets of Marawi where gunmen from the Maute terror group were hiding among trapped residents, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) reporter who was following troops searching houses.

The President said long before he assumed the presidency, he had smelled "something terribly wrong" about Isis' plan to intercept the southern Philippines due to Hapilon's presence in Central Mindanao.

The main Muslim rebel groups have signed accords with the government aimed at forging lasting peace, giving up their separatist ambitions in return for autonomy.

The justice secretary also created five panels of prosecutors to handle the prosecution of suspected members of the Maute group and other terrorist groups.

Ten government soldiers killed in Philippines military air strike: minister