June 24, 2017

Islamists kill 13 Philippine marines in wartorn Marawi city

10 June 2017, 05:35 | Sue Hudson

13 Philippine marines killed in fighting with militants

A Special Weapons and Tactics operative searches a house after receiving information that more than a dozen escaped prisoners freed from a jail by Daesh militants were hiding there in Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao

The US embassy in Manila and the Philippine military were quoted by the Reuters news agency Saturday as saying that US special operations forces were "assisting" in Marawi where 200,000 residents have been displaced by urban battles. The statement confirmed that the USA military is also involved in assisting the government troops to quell the urban insurrection, according to the Associated Press reports.

On May 24, local terrorist groups called the Maute and the Abu Sayyaf in cooperation with ISIS fighters from Indonesia, Y, men and other middle eastern countries suddenly pounced on the city of Marawi and held it hostage.

He said they were killed during an "intense firefight" on Friday as they were conducting operations to clear enemy positions.

The plane was dropping the bomb on Islamic extremists who have laid a long siege in a southern city of the country, the military had said.

The fresh casualties brought to 58 the number of government troops killed in the fighting, Herrera said.

Days before the USA embassy issued its statement, Herrera had already confirmed that the U.S. was providing "techical assistance" to Philippine troops battling local terrorists in Marawi City.

It would not go into operational details but said the USA forces were helping at the request of the Philippine government.

Qatar FM rejects intervention in foreign policy
Ghobas said: "The idea that there is an Islamic solution to Middle East's social and economic problems is not something we are persuaded of".

"They are not fighting. They are just providing technical support", military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera told a news conference in Marawi City.

Their involvement comes after months of strain between the two allies stoked by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's hostility towards Washington and his pledges to evict United States troops, who have long provided training and assistance.

Philippine troops have been battling the Maute group, which claims allegiance with Islamic State, in Marawi for more than two weeks.

The US Embassy said Washington would "continue to work with the Philippines to address shared threats to the peace and security of our countries, including on counterterrorism issues" in its statement Saturday.

"The presence of our USA counterparts facilitates exchanges of intelligence ... and also provides training exchanges and, of course, the technical support that we are sharing together in the fight against global terrorism", he added.

The United States and the Philippines have been allies for decades.

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