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Top terrorists cornered in Marawi: Military chief
By Manolo B. Jara August 30, 2017
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MANILA: Top leaders of the Daesh-linked terrorists have been cornered in a battle zone that has been limited to just 500 square metres in Marawi City, the country’s military chief disclosed on Tuesday.

As such, General Eduardo Ano, the head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), pointed out the chances of reinforcements entering Marawi or escape of the leaders and their followers from the city have become practically nil.

“That’s our main goal: No way in, no way out,” said Ano following the death of 10 terrorists who tried to sneak into Marawi from Lake Lanao in a pre-dawn clash with government forces on Monday.

Ano added; “If they (terrorists) want to join, (and) they want to go to heaven, we will give them a chance to go to heaven.”

As government forces prepared for the final assault, Ano admitted that the terrorists would put up a “fierce confrontation” and make their “final stand” in the siege that entered its 99th day on Tuesday.

He also disclosed that based on the latest intelligence information, the terrorist leaders who have pledged allegiance to the Daesh extremists in the Middle East, were still in the area.

Ano identified them as the brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute after whom their terror group was named as well as Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of the Abu Sayyaf extremists, reportedly appointed by the Daesh as its leader in Southeast Asia and also ordered to set up a caliphate in Marawi City.

Earlier, the military reported that soldiers killed at least 10 terrorists aboard two motorised pumpboats who tried to sneak into Marawi as reinforcement for their cohorts from Lake Lanao, featuring a two-hour fierce gunbattle before dawn on Monday.

The Monday encounter brought the terrorists total death toll to 613, with the military casualties reaching 130 and civilians at 45, said Captain Jo-Ann Petinglay, the spokesman of Joint Task Force Marawi.

Petinglay also reported the military recaptured on Friday St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, one of the first facilities occupied by the terrorists when they laid siege to Marawi on May 23 that prompted President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to impose martial law over the whole of troubled Mindanao.

The terrorists also abducted the cathedral priest the Reverend Teresito “Chito” Suganob along with 10 other church workers including women who are believed to be still alive and held as hostages.

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