Philippines: 2 ISIS-affiliated terror leaders eliminated in Marawi

Philippines Army says Islamists making ‘last stand’ in Marawi

The last two surviving leaders of a deadly siege in the southern Philippines, including a top Asian terror suspect, were killed Monday in a push by thousands of troops to retake the last pocket of Marawi city still held by pro-Islamic State militants, top security officials said.

"Following their operational plan, they were able to go this morning. they were killed", Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters. "We could announce the end of hostilities in a day or two ".

Hapilon is among the terror suspects on the Federal Bureau of Investigation list with a 5-million-U.S. dollars bounty on his head.

Lorenzana said the killings of Hapilon and Maute mean that the Marawi conflict will be over soon and that the government will soon announce the "termination of hostilities in a couple of days".

The troops were able to locate Hapilon and Maute through the information provided by a female hostage who earlier escaped.

A top Malaysian militant, Mahmud bin Ahmad, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Handzalah and is a close associate of Hapilon, has not been found and was among the remaining militants being hunted by troops, he said.

The clashes have killed 813 rebels, 47 civilians and 162 military since insurgents seized the heart of Marawi on May 23, according to the authorities. A total of 824 Maute terrorists, 167 soldiers, and 47 civilians have been killed in nearly five months of gunbatlles.

After the fighting stops, Lorenzana said the government will refocus its efforts "on the challenging task of rebuilding and rehabilitating Marawi".

The government said at least 1,066 people have been killed, including 822 militants and 162 government forces. In May, terrorists from the Maute group stormed a church in Marawi and took hostages. He left his lair in Basilan previous year to join the Maute Group in Butig, Lanao Del Sur, where Omar Maute and his brother Abdullah led an occupation of Butig's town center. "Numerous captives are being kept in basements", he said, referring to the basements of buildings occupied by the militants.

"Once peace and order is restored in the city, the government can finally begin in earnest the next battle: the fight to build Marawi back better than it ever was before", Gatchalian said. In July, Philippine legislators voted overwhelmingly to extend martial law to deal with Islamist insurgents until December 31.

The violence forced over 350,000 residents to flee the city and the surrounding areas, and saw President Rodrigo Duterte declare martial law across the island shortly after.

Asked if martial law in Mindanao will be lifted now that the leaders are dead, Lorenzana replied: "we are not talking about lifting martial law yet".

Television footage and images reveal the huge destruction in Marawi.

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