No more than 40 Islamic State-linked fighters are holding out in Marawi City, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stated yesterday (Monday, July 31).
“I think there are 30 to 40 left — but these are the good fighters. In fact, we are still sustaining casualties. Our latest, three days ago, was one killed and about nine wounded,” he informed reporters at Camp Aguinaldo military headquarters.
On Sunday, Lorenzana additionally introduced that 5 troopers had been wounded in the combating.
He added that navy forces had been persevering with to clear the areas nonetheless occupied by the Islamic militants — home by home, and room by room.
He stated the military’s progress was additional hampered by considerations for civilians being held as human shields.
“We are not sure if they will use civilians for suicide bombing, we don’t know. That’s what our soldiers are concerned about, that they might release civilians but with bombs on them,” he added.
Proceed with warning
So far, the Marawi disaster — which prompted President Duterte to declare martial regulation throughout Mindanao when it broke out on May 23 — has claimed the lives of 114 troopers and policemen and a minimum of 45 civilians. Nearly 500 terrorists have been killed, a few of them confirmed as overseas jihadis.
Army spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla stated troopers had captured a key bridge near the final redoubt of the militants.
Government forces are actually in management of Mapandi Bridge, which ends up in Marawi metropolis centre, the place the remaining militants are believed to be holding as much as 100 hostages, principally in the town’s predominant mosque, he stated.
“We now have direct access to ground zero,” Padilla stated. “Our main objective is to rescue the hostages.”
President Duterte has ordered troops to proceed with warning, and never launch any main assault that might endanger the hostages.
However, consultants have lately warned that the longer the disaster continues, the more younger Muslims could also be tempted to rally to the black flag of IS
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has now suspended personal seaports in Zamboaga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (Zambasulta) that could be utilized by would-be jihadis.
Manila terror risk
Meanwhile, safety forces are monitoring a gaggle of former Maoist assassins who’ve transformed to Islam as a potential risk to this week’s summit of overseas ministers in Manila.
Twenty-seven overseas ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ‘dialogue partners’ like Japan, the United States, India, Canada and Russia will collect in the town from Friday till Tuesday.
Metro Manila’s police chief Oscar Albayalde stated there was no particular risk to date, however police had been monitoring a number of former hitmen of the communist Alex Boncayao Brigade, or ABB, a gaggle of assassins that was lively in the 1980s.
He stated the boys had joined pro-IS teams and could possibly be planning to focus on the assembly.
“We are watching several enclaves where there are large numbers of Muslim populations,” he stated.
Among these is Quiapo, an previous business district near the presidential palace space, the place a bomb throughout an ASEAN leaders’ summit in April wounded 14. The authorities blamed the explosion on a private fued, regardless of a declare of accountability by IS.
The Philippines is deploying 13,000 police officers to protect more than 1,700 delegates on the summit.