Philippine troops pound Islamists as death toll passes 300

As Philippines battles militants, deaths climb in crowded refugee centers

As Philippines battles militants, deaths climb in crowded refugee centers

The military says that up to 200 fighters, majority from local insurgent groups that have pledged allegiance to Islamic State but also some foreign fighters, are holding out, using civilians as human shields and mosques as safe havens.

The Philippines military has said that the Islamic State-linked militants occupying the city of Marawi are "too degraded" to launch further attacks, however there are fears that some jihadists may have escaped the besieged city.

Harvey was shot in Marawi, the most important Muslim city in the mainly Catholic Philippines where government forces are struggling to defeat hundreds of militants fighting under the black flags of the Islamic State (IS) group.

He added despite the absence of President Rodrigo Duterte in the past few days, Defense Secretary and martial law administrator Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año continue to get regular guidance from the commander-in-chief.

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Such a base could be crucial for IS' ambitions to establish a caliphate in Southeast Asia, analysts say.

Philippine members of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) patrol a neighborhood where evacuees from Marawi City are temporarily living in Iligan City on June 16, 2017. "We can not give you an accurate description insofar as the cause of death, but based on what we have received so far, most of the cases are dehydration and pre-existing health conditions", provincial crisis management committee spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong said.

The 22-year-old suspect, said to be a close relative of Omarkhayam and Abdullah Maute who have been leading the terrorist alliance fighting government troops since the Marawi siege began May 23, was assisted bt two lawyers from the Public Attorneys Office (PAO).

Atty. Alamia also cited the reason why the number of IDPs is more than the population of Marawi City, saying the residents of the neighboring towns of Lanao del Sur are also fleeing their homes.

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"I want to appeal to everyone you should be very careful because in our assessment the vicinity of the 103rd (military camp), the vicinity of the capitol is within the line of sight of the enemy", local military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jo-ar Herrera told reporters in the compound after the shooting incident.

"It's the centre of gravity".

Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said security has been tightened in nearby cities Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, and authorities are on the lookout for anyone who might "attempt to sow some confusion or sow terror", Reuters report.

"We are trying our best to expedite (driving them out) without unduly compromising the lives of our soldiers and at the same time the remaining civilians there", he said.

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However, the MLA has later denied it, saying "the voice is not mine though it was me in the visuals". Stalin was accompanied by party legislators, including senior leader Durai Murugan.

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