What You Must Know About the ISIS Attack in the Philippines

Henrietta Brewer
May 26, 2017

An initial rampage by the gunmen, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, through the mainly Muslim city of Marawi on Tuesday prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to impose martial law across the southern third of the Philippines.

Thousands of residents have since fled Marawi as government troops exchanged heavy gunfire with Islamist insurgents.

The army sent about 100 soldiers, including US -trained special forces, to retake buildings and streets in mainly Muslim Marawi City held by militants of the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

Hundreds of protesters have marched to the Philippine presidential palace in Manila to protest President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in the southern Mindanao region, where a city is under siege by militants linked to the Islamic State group.

Philippine troops entered Mindanao Thursday to begin clearing out the Islamist militants. Army tanks packed with soldiers rolled into t.

Most of Marawi's 200,000 inhabitants fled after the gunmen ran amok on Tuesday, seizing and torching buildings, freeing militants from jails and taking a priest and churchgoers hostage at the city's cathedral.Duterte has dealt with separatist unrest during his 22 years as mayor in Mindanao but the Maute's rise and signs that it has ties to another group, the Abu Sayyaf, present one of the biggest challenges of a presidency won on promises to fight drugs and lawlessness.

"Right now, he is still inside (the city)", General Eduardo Ano said. He said he had spent the last few nights "praying that the bullets will not find their way to my house and hit us".

Hapilon was reported severely wounded in the series of military operations in Lanao Del Sur early this January.

"We're leaving", said a resident named Edith, walking along a rundown street carrying a small suitcase. "We have to finish this".

The government said five soldiers have been killed and officials are investigating reports of civilian casualties. It is not immediately clear whether civilians are among the dead.

The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, who cut short a foreign visit to Russian Federation, has imposed martial law in Mindanao and promised bloodshed.

Militants from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore were among the jihadists fighting with local militants from a group called Maute in Marawi, Solicitor- General Jose Calida said.

Soldiers take positions while evading sniper fire as they try to clear the city of armed militants in Marawi city, southern Philippines.

Duterte said on Wednesday that one of the policemen killed was similarly caught at a checkpoint set up by the militants, then beheaded.

Enriquez said the former chief was fatally shot in a clash with the extremists on Tuesday outside a Marawi hospital after violence took hold on when the rebels descended on the city.

The man at the centre of the Marawi violence is an Arabic-speaking Islamic preacher known for his expertise in commando assaults.

Besides the Abu Sayyaf, another, smaller militant group - the Maute - is heavily involved in the Marawi siege.

"The dream of the Maute Group, which has pledged allegiance to the ISIS and to its flag, is to transform Mindanao into an Islamic state or in their language Daulah Islamiyah", Calida said.

Aside from fighting government forces, these terrorist elements are also helping lawless groups in the country in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices and bombs.

Other reports by iNewsToday