Blasts Rock Besieged City as Philippines Marks Independence Day

"But we know the Maute Group and they're not religious or political in any way", said Rhona Canoy, president of an global school and part of a political family in Cagayan de Oro, a Mindanao city where some of the Marawi refugees are staying.

Here in Indonesia, alarm bells were set off by news that numerous fighters from local Islamist terrorist group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), as well as others, had gone to Mindanao to support ISIS-backed forces.

It was only in 2016 that the IS-linked terrorist attack hit the region, with four deaths after gun-and-bomb violence in Jakarta. "Your brothers in your land have done well so take them as role models and do as they have done".

Hundreds of other civilians were still trapped in the ruins of the town and - facing capture, starvation or bombardment from above - several have braved sniper fire to dash across a bridge to safety.

"On that day, we showed our colonizers and the rest of the world what Filipinos are made of", he added.

Marawi, the main Islamic city in the predominantly Catholic Philippines, is largely abandoned now, with about 250,000 people having fled the city and nearby areas. Fighting continued as of yesterday.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law across a large southern portion of his country.

Duterte told reporters on Sunday that he "never approached America" for military assistance and was "not aware of that until they arrived", according to a Reuters report.

They have brought disparate groups together, widened the recruitment pool to include computer savvy students and opened up worldwide communication, Dr Jones said. "So I will destroy also and kill", he added.

Meanwhile, a total of 26 civilians have been killed by Maute in the course of the urban battle while 1,618 residents have been rescued. Ten of the attacks and five of the plots were in the Philippines.

"According to the five survivors, Maute knocked on the door of the house where 18 trapped civilians were staying and prompted the civilians to run using the backdoor going to the river", the spokesperson said.

Padilla said that 20 civilians, 134 militants and 39 government troops have been killed since the fighting broke out on May 23.

For his part, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Rodolfo A. Salalima said his agency has tracked "more than one" individuals on Monday night who will be arrested for "cyber-sedition" related to the spread of IS propaganda on social media. Five escaped, while eight were taken as hostages.

"The United States is a proud ally of the Philippines, and we will continue to work with the Philippines to address shared threats to the peace and security of our countries, including on counterterrorism issues", the embassy said in a statement.

Maj Gen Ganip Warsito, the regional military chief overseeing the closest areas to neighbouring Philippines said Indonesian army, navy and air force have deployed extra troops to boost security in the region.

"Terrorism is the common enemy of mankind".

Meanwhile, the need for USA military support to bolster the Filipino army's slow progress in liberating Marwai, is in stark contrast to Duterte's string of insults aimed at Washington and American politicians by the fiery president.

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