Maute attack in Marawi — TIMELINE

As government forces conduct operations to dislodge Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) announced its willingness to provide relief aid and services to communities affected by the fighting.

In a sign that the long-standing problem of militancy in the south could be expanding, Solicitor General Jose Calida said foreigners were fighting alongside the gunmen in Marawi, including Indonesians and Malaysians. "It has transmogrified into an invasion by foreign terrorists who heeded the clarion call of ISIS". Six soldiers were killed in fresh clashes Thursday, bringing the death toll among soldiers at 11, the Western Mindanao Command said. It was not immediately clear whether civilians were among the dead.

In a sign of the confusion over events inside the city, a local police chief told the AP on Friday that he was fine - two days after Duterte told journalists the police chief had been beheaded by militants. But soldiers have been going house-to-house to clear the city of militants. Duterte, who cut his Russian Federation visit short to return home, said he heard reports they may have beheaded a police chief. "I'm just praying that the bullets will not find their way to my house and hit us".

Long queues of pickup trucks and jeeps crammed with people and loaded with belongings crawled along roads into nearby towns as troops searched vehicles for weapons and bombs.

Catholics in the Philippine capital have attended a Mass for people in the southern region now under martial law and in the besieged city of Marawi. Marawi has a population of around 200,000. Marcos declared martial law in 1972 and used it to maintain his grip on power for more than a decade.

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An Arabic-speaking preacher with an engineering degree from the Philippines' top university, Isnilon Hapilon, 51, is one of the world's most wanted terrorists. He is at the nexus of several militant groups that are trying to merge into a more powerful force.

The Maute Group killed a cop and a security guard, and then took hostages - 8 patients, 49 construction workers, and 21 hospital staff - on Tuesday when they forced hospital staff to treat two of their wounded colleagues. Last year, he was reportedly chosen to lead the Islamic State group branch in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said Thursday. But he added that the smaller groups "are working to really get that recognition and funds, of course".

Washington has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Hapilon's capture, but he has proved elusive.

The military has not explained how the raid on an apartment hideout went so badly wrong.

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"They have threatened to kill the hostages if the government forces unleashed against them are not recalled", CBCP President Socrates Villegas said in a statement. Once again, Hapilon escaped.

"The whole of Marawi city is blacked out, there is no light, and there are Maute snipers all around", Lorenzana said in the news conference in Moscow, which was broadcast live in the Philippines.

Much of Marawi remains a no-go zone, but disturbing details have emerged. Plumes of black smoke rose from the direction of the city center and air force helicopters swooped overhead.

The militants are holding between 12 and 15 Catholic hostages abducted from the Marawi cathedral, including a priest, Fr. Chito Suganob, according to Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña. Maute, one of the largest groups that operate in Lanao del Sur province, reportedly came to Hapilon's aid.

"There are more or less 50 militants that are fighting", Herrera said. Human rights groups have expressed fears that martial law powers could further embolden Duterte, whom they have accused of allowing extrajudicial killings of thousands of drug suspects in a crackdown on illegal drugs.

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