Pro-Islamic State group clashed with the army in Marawi City – Philippines
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Five Philippine troops were injured in clashes with pro-Islamic State Maute insurgents on Tuesday in Marawi City, the Philippine army announced.
The scene of the firefight was near police headquarters and the campus of Mindanao State University, Senior Superintendent Oscar Nantes of the Lanao del Sur provincial police said.
The clash was initiated by the army, who saw Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon in the vicinity, with about 15 followers, Philippine Army spokesman Col. Jo-ar Herara said.
Maute is a radical Islamist group based in Lanao del Sur which, with Abu Sayyaf, has conducted terrorist attacks in the Philippines for several years. Both are aligned with the Islamic State, also identified as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.
At least 50 Maute members have been killed in isolated clashes with Philippine police and soldiers in the past five months. The number of Maute casualties in Tuesday’s fight was not revealed.
On Tuesday, members of the Philippine army searched Marawi City for Hapilon and his party when the gunfire began. Armored vehicles were brought in, neighborhoods were locked down and two aircraft of the Philippine air force dropped bombs on selected targets.
The incidents in Marawi City, whose population of about 200,000 is largely Muslim, came two days before the start of the fasting month of Ramadan.