4 dead as fighting continues in southern Philippine city

AP News
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Posted: Oct 18, 2017 8:15 AM
4 dead as fighting continues in southern Philippine city

MARAWI, Philippines (AP) — Four Islamic State-allied militants died and 10 government soldiers were injured in fighting that continued in the southern Philippine city of Marawi after the president declared it liberated from "terrorist influence," military officials said Wednesday.

President Rodrigo Duterte visited the battle-scarred city on Tuesday and announced its liberation, sparking hopes that thousands of residents can finally return home.

Fierce fighting continued Tuesday night, but military officials said it involved a group of "stragglers."

Marawi, a mosque-studded center of Islamic faith in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines, has been devastated by a siege by the militants who overran the city on May 23. More than 1,000 people have been killed, including at least 854 militants, according to the military.

"We're continuing to go after about 20-30 stragglers but the fighting in the area can no longer affect the overall security of Marawi," military spokesman Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Ano said the militants were confined to a one-hectare (2.5-acre) area of the city.