Philippines using helicopters to clear militants

Up to 31 soldiers were wounded.

Lorenzana, the defence secretary, said at least two soldiers and a police officer had been killed.

News of the Catholic hostages comes after reports broke stating the ISIS militants captured nine Christians, tied their hands together and shot them dead after they identified as Christians. Duterte has also confessed to having "cousins" in the Islamic State, as his family hails from the Muslim regions of the south. The military said it believes Hapilon was still in Marawi. We have to be very cautious. "We have been mobilizing them since last night", Arevalo said.

"The Philippine government is in full control, and fully aware the Maute Group/ISIS groups have the capability (although limited) to disturb the peace". "I pity the civilians and the women who were near the targeted area".

Duterte said Wednesday that militants who have laid siege to the city of Marawi had decapitated the police chief of Malabang.

At least one policeman was killed in the hunt for Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the infamous Abu Sayyaf kidnap gang and Philippine head of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, according to Philippine military chief of staff General Eduardo Ano.

While in Russia, Durerte sought the assistance of Russian President Vladimir Putin to provide the Philippine government military weapons to crush terrorist organizations in the Southern Philippines.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) activated its red alert status early yesterday to monitor and prepare for the possible consequences of the ongoing armed operation between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and members of the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who have pledged their allegiance to the worldwide terrorist group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He said the Hapilon and the Maute Group members posed as civilians, thus they were not initially detected.

"Sadly, we even received reports that there were even politicians supporting the group in some way", he said.

Hapilon, who reportedly has direct links to worldwide terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS), joined the Maute Group in Lanao Del Sur supposedly to establish an Islamic caliphate in Central Mindanao.

They said six soldiers died in Thursday's fighting.

"Martial law, I think, sounds a lot graver than it actually is".

De la Pena said the Maute militant allowed him to speak to Suganob to make sure he was clear of their demands.

Thousands of resisdents fled Marawi, according to an AFP photographer at a military checkpoint near Iligan, the next biggest city, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away.

Special forces commandoes were deployed to drive out the remaining 20 to 30 Maute group rebels holed-up in Marawi but encountered heavy resistance on Friday.

While radicalization may be different for each individual, Richmond said "it's all based on vulnerability".

Likewise, validation efforts are still ongoing to determine on the veracity of reports that the terrorists took several civilian hostages including a priest.

"We beg every Filipino to pray fervently". She could not immediately give numbers as to the evacuees who are not staying at the provincial capitol.

"In the words of our vice governor, (the city proper of) Marawi is like a ghost town".

At the same time, he also offered dialogue to militants who are not on the streets fighting. There are close to 100 barangays in Marawi City.

"Don't let yourselves be used for propaganda by the other side".

"People are afraid. They do not want to open establishments".

"We are not saying outrightly that these are not true but it's easy to claim these". The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police have since reinforced their troops in the city.

Troops also rescued 42 teachers trapped at the Dansalan College, where the extremists burned a building.



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