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Eleven Filipino soldiers were killed and eight others injured in the “friendly fire” incident in the embattled city of Marawi on Wednesday.
The reports of militants linked to the Islamic State, engaging in street battles with the Army, leaving more than 100 people dead, surfaced over last week. It was sparked by the attempted capture of a top militant leader by the army. “The first plane dropped the ordnance accurately, but the second one missed. It hit our troops … there must be some mistake there,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told CNN.
Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said those behind the violence in Marawi were “purely ISIS.” He added that Isnilon Hapilon, the designated ISIS emir for Southeast Asia, was a “student of history” and had planned the latest rebellion for a long time.
The martial law was declared on the entire Mindanao Island where fighting is going on. Security forces launched a raid to arrest Isnilon Hapilon – a Filipino militant on the US’s list of most-wanted terror suspects. Authorities said dozens of fighters fought back to protect him, and then attacked parts of the city with a population of 200,000, taking hostages.
The Philippines military has since been using armed forces and helicopter air strikes to try and drive the militants out. Most of the civilians have left Marawi, while about 2,000 remain trapped.