IS Southeast Asia chief killed in Philippines

IS Southeast Asia chief killed in Philippines

Marawi, a mosque-studded center of Islamic faith in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines, has been devastated by five months of military attacks against the Islamic State group-allied militants who overran the city on May 23.

"They (troops) were able to get a testimony from a hostage that was able to escape and the hostage was able to confirm the presence of Hapilon and [Omar] Maute in a particular building, so that was the building we assaulted this morning", Lorenzana explained.

Hapilon, who is listed as one of the FBI's most-wanted terror suspects, and Maute have always been in the crosshairs of the Philippine state.

Ano said troops are focused on rescuing the remaining hostages, which number around 22.

The pro-IS Maute group occupied parts of Marawi on May 23 following a foiled attempt by security forces to arrest Hapilon.

Military leaders had said last month that three leaders of the Islamic State-linked militants who besieged the southern city were killed in the months of fighting but the two still alive were leading a final stand.

According to Philippine Armed Forces Chief Eduardo Ano, the death of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Maute terror group leader Omar Khayyam Maute will impact the expansion of militant groups in other places besides war-ravaged Marawi city in the south.

"We will announce the termination of hostilities in a couple of days", Lorenzana added, referring to the months' long siege.

The Philippine government had offered a 10m Philippines peso bounty for Hapilon on top of the $5m reward offered by the US.

On the other hand, Omar Maute and his brother Abdullah founded a group named after them that pledged allegiance to the Daesh following their return to the Philippines from their studies in Egypt where the imbibed the Daesh teachings.

Military intelligence suggests that two boats were prepared but the two men were unable to reach them due to intense fighting.

The siege, which lasted nearly five months destroyed much of the city's once popular center and left more than 400,000 people from Marawi and elsewhere living in temporary shelters. "This means their centre of gravity has crumbled", he told reporters.

The military plans to target the Abu Sayyaf group and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters once the Marawi crisis ends in a bid to end terrorism in Mindanao.

"Women and children are now forced to fight together with the Maute-ISIS fighters". "It's going to be a new battle".

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