dglobalnews.com US special forces helping Philippines troops to end city siege
Published: Sat, June 10, 2017
Culture&Arts | By Orlando Mckenzie

US special forces helping Philippines troops to end city siege

US special forces helping Philippines troops to end city siege

"It's noncombat assistance", military spokesman Brig.

Forty soldiers were also wounded in the 14-hour firefight on Friday in Marawi City, 800 kilometres south of Manila, said marine spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo.

US special forces are assisting Philippine troops in their operations against Islamic militants in the southern city of Marawi, the USA embassy in Manila said in an emailed statement.

Philippine Army 1st Infantry Division spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera on Saturday said there were "strong indications" that Omar and Madie, two of several Maute siblings tagged in terror activities, were killed in government offensives.

More than 40 other marines were injured, he said.

It was among the heaviest fighting seen in mainly Muslim Marawi as the air force battered parts of the city with strikes to support ground troops.

In more than two weeks of fighting, at least 202 people have been killed: 134 militants, 38 troops, and 30 civilians.

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Maute's husband, Cayamora, was arrested at a police checkpoint in the southern city of Davao on Tuesday.

President Rodrigo Duterte said the militant attack was part of a wider plot by IS to establish a base in the southern region of Mindanao, and declared martial law there to quell the threat. He added that the #United States will provide technical support to Philippine troops.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the designated administrator of martial law, has ordered the arrest of almost 200 militants, politicians and other suspected civilian backers of the unprecedented uprising in Marawi, the mosque-studded heartland of Islamic faith in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

Until now there had been no confirmation that the Philippines had sought United States assistance in the battle for Marawi City on the island of Mindanao, which is in its third week.

Thousands of Marawi's 200,000 inhabitants fled the city after Islamic State-linked militants executed civilians, while the nation battled a deadly casino attack last week labelled as a 'terrorist' act by a top Philippine lawmaker.

Military officials in the country said that a United States Navy aircraft provided surveillance for the local troops as the battle continued in Marawi on Friday.

The little-known Maute group has been a fierce enemy of a military with superior firepower and greater troop strength.

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