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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

UPDATE: Foreign ISIS Fighters Seen and Killed In Marawi Are Identified

UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."


UPDATE: June 18, 2017
Maute/ISIS Sniper looks like foreigners according to Philippine Army Snipers, Watch!



UPDATE: June 4, 2017
Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.

Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.

Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.




UPDATE: June 1, 2017At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday.
UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."
Soldiers look on into an ongoing aerial bombardment.

Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week.

“The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said.

Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified.
The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor.
UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."
The army is sending more troops to Marawi, 400 in all.

A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East.

The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.

UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."
Original Post:
The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIS. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.”  
UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."
Government soldiers position themselves to take back Marawi from ISI-linked Maute Rebels

Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.

Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq.
UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."
ISIS-linked Maute fighters torch government buildings and schools across Marawi City.

The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives.
UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."
Civilians affected by the fighting flee the city

"They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places."

He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.

Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house.
UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."
Philippine Air Force attack helicopters bombard suspected terrorist hideouts in Marawi

The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.

Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon.

UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."
Terrorist fighters parade the ISIS flag atop a stolen local police vehicle.

In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens".


Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East.


He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists".

Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters.
UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."
Philippine Army conduct patrols along a mosque in Marawi.

 Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies
Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.

Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island.
UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."
The gateway arch to the Islamic City of Marawi. The military has placed checkpoint at all entry/exit points to the city.

Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued.
UPDATE: June 4, 2017 Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that eight of the more than 100 ISIS fighters in Marawi City are foreign nationals. Lorenzana said they include two Saudi nationals, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, one Yemeni and one from Chechnya.  Lorenzana further said, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Affairs Abdul Khayr Alonto have the names and identities of the foreign nationals who are believed to be members of the international terrorist group ISIS. The names will not be published until the operations in Marawi is over.  Most of the slain fighters in Marawi, members of the Maute terror group are from Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga area.  UPDATE: June 1, 2017 At least eight foreign terrorists have been killed in besieged Marawi City as residents reported seeing "foreign-looking" fighters joining gunfights against state forces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. Lorenzana said the military has so far identified 2 Malaysians, 2 Saudis, 2 Indonesians, a Yemeni, and a Chechen as among those killed in the siege, which started Tuesday last week. “The report we got from the civilians from Marawi is they saw a lot of foreign-looking fighters,” the defense chief said. Lorenzana said 95 terrorists have been killed in the clashes, with 33 already identified. The defense chief said foreigners who were fighting alongside local terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf could have entered the country through the southern backdoor. A Reuters report quoted a Philippine intelligence source as saying that of the 400-500 marauding fighters who overran Marawi City, as many as 40 had recently come from overseas, including from countries in the Middle East. The source said they included Indonesians, Malaysians, at least one Pakistani, a Saudi, a Chechen, a Yemeni, an Indian, a Moroccan and one man with a Turkish passport.  Original Post: The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL. At a news briefing, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said “There are... Malaysians, Singaporeans... We are continuously verifying that there have been a number of them who have been killed.” Meanwhile, General Eduardo Año told The Associated Press in an interview that the military has made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded.  Año said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Año said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places." He said the military had cleared 70 percent of the city by doing house-to-house operation. The remaining fighters were reportedly isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.  Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.  Año said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.  President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon. In recent years, small armed groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jose Calida, the top Philippine prosecutor, said last week that the violence on the large southern island of Mindanao "is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens". Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore's S Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said ISIL and the smaller regional groups are working together to show their strength and declare a Philippine province part of the caliphate that ISIL says it created in the Middle East. He said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be "a huge success for the terrorists". Analysts have warned that as ISIL is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Civilians trapped in Marawi as battle against ISIL-linked fighters intensifies Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East "could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home", said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.  Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Muslim rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades. The largest armed group dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government. Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.  Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.  "In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."
Hapilon, among his Abu Sayyaf members, declaring allegiance to ISIS in 2014.

Hapilon, an Islamic preacher and former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014. He now heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller groups, including the Maute.

Acmad Aliponto, a 56-year-old court sheriff who decided not to flee the city, said while the fighters were well-armed, he believes they have little local support, and that the recent violence could turn more people against them.

"In the end their relatives and everyday people may be the ones who will kill them," he said. "Look at what they did. So many were affected."


source: AlJazeera, ST, ABS-CBN





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