Fighting resumes in Philippines after Ramadan ceasefire

Duterte talks after visiting wounded soldiers who fight against the insurgents of the Maute group at a military camp in Cagayan De Oro

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte assured troops on Wednesday that he would protect them from any legal action if they accidently kill civilians while battling militants who have besieged a southern city.

Small skirmishes took place early in the day in parts of Marawi City, where fighters loyal to Islamic State were clinging on for a fifth week, as rebel snipers fired on positions held by troops who declared a unilateral, eight-hour halt on offensives until early in the afternoon.

Herrera said they were still trying to confirm reports that Isnilon Hapilon, a veteran Filipino militant said to be the leader of the Islamic State group in Southeast Asia, had escaped Marawi despite a military and police cordon.

It is widely agreed that the biggest risk facing Indonesia will come from foreign fighters returning home from the Middle East and the Philippines with skills, including bomb making, that are now lacked by those on the ground.

In today's world, problems like this can happen in any country, but the Philippines is lucky for having a decisive president, who did not dilly-dally, but acted immediately to respond to the siege.

Heavy clashes broke out on Tuesday as the battle entered its sixth week, with intense bombings by planes on a shrinking rebel zone. Marawi is on southern Mindanao island.

Military spokesman Padilla said authorities recognised that people in evacuation centres were getting tired, but troops needed more time to flush out the gunmen and secure the city.

Those fears are being felt also in Malaysia and Indonesia, whose nationals are among the Maute group rebels fighting in Marawi, suggesting the group may have built a cross-border network that has gone largely undetected.

Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, Philippine military spokesman, said about 500 civilians remained trapped in areas where the fighting is concentrated.

He also said that it is important that Hapilon be caught "dead or alive".

"We need to balance this because this is very precarious", said Gen Hermoso.

Fourteen people, mostly elderly, were rescued on Friday, he said.

Reuters reports that government officials met with Maute negotiators during Eid, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, over the weekend and rejected the offer. It was uploaded on YouTube on 30 May and was circulated on social media. Clips have also appeared of people on their knees, shot in the head from behind.

The military has so far been reluctant to discuss the possibility that the real impact of the fighting on civilians could be far more severe than has been reported. "Stop the air strikes, stop the air attacks, stop the cannons", the man continued.

Disaster officials are keen to start risky missions to recover what they believe are large numbers of bodies in the streets near the conflict zone.

"It seems to be limitless supply".

"They are being forced to be sex slaves, forced to destroy the dignity of these women", he said.

"Some of those who travelled to the Middle East got contaminated, brought the ideology back home and promised to declare war against humanity".

In Iligan just north of Marawi, evacuees from the conflict dressed in colourful flowing robes marked the end of Ramadan by holding prayers on the grounds of the city hall.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Philippine leader tells troops not to fear civilian deaths
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:58
At least 299 militants and 71 soldiers and police have also died in the fighting that began when militant laid siege to Marawi on 23 May.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Beltre's 9th-inning homer lifts Rangers past Indians 2-1
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:56
The home run was also the 450th of Beltre's career, which puts him 39th on baseball's all-time list. "I get today. Indians manager Terry Francona left Cleveland's game against the Texas Rangers because he wasn't feeling well.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor confirm Las Vegas 'superfight'
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:50
Though he hasn't boxed professionally, McGregor did box while growing up and is known for his striking expertise in UFC . McGregor , 28, is 21-3 in UFC fights , with his most recent fight coming in November against Eddie Alvarez .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top 111 terminally ill end lives under new California law
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:49
The report showed that the majority of people who received aid-in-dying prescriptions were insured (96.4%) and enrolled in hospice (83.8%).

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Saudi doubles down on Qatar rift
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:48
Corker's pledge to halt arms sales comes a day after Tillerson said that numerous demands would "be very hard for Qatar to meet". He added that if the Qataris wish to return to the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, "they know what they have to do".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trial date set for California suit against Cosby
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:48
In the California case, a woman claims she was assaulted by Cosby at the Playboy Mansion more than 40 years ago when she was 15. The stage for Bill Cosby's next trial shifts to California. "He does not take lightly these criminal charges", she said .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ten-man France down England in lively friendly
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:41
Clearly, even with video, you won't get every decision right. "You'll still get an element of one person's judgment within that". Southgate told a press conference: "I said on Saturday it was never my intention to play Joe in this game".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Confederations Cup: Germany braced for Socceroos counterattacks in Sochi opener
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:37
At the other end, German substitute Timo Werner hit the post after holding off two defenders and beating Maty Ryan. They were pegged back when Tommy Rogic equalized for the Socceroos on 41 minutes.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Massive ransomware attack hits companies across Europe, US
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:35
If victims don't have a recent back-up of the files they must either pay the ransom or face losing all of their files. Employees of Reckitt Benckiser have reportedly been sent home as the company's system was hit by cyber attack .

Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo out on medical leave
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:33
The defense team had argued for Liu to be released while awaiting trial on the basis of poor health, but was turned down, he said .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Fleury picked up by Vegas in Wednesday's expansion draft
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:32
Poile was recognized after the Predators' first Western Conference title and Stanley Cup Final appearance. Brannstrom passed Timothy Liljegren (who went to Toronto) as the best Swedish defender in this draft.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Draghi: Stimulus could be scaled back if economy improves
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:32
Yields rise as prices fall. "The European government bond market didn't take it very well". USA gold futures for August delivery climbed 0.2 percent to $1,249.40 per ounce.

Rockets star James Harden pushing hard in Chris Paul pursuit, sources say
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:30
He'll potentially cast a large net in free agency for the first time, after sticking with the Clippers in 2013. Harden and Paul were teammates on the 2012 USA men's Olympic basketball team.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top White House accuses Assad of planning 'another chemical weapons attack'
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:25
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said yesterday that Washington would continue to provide weapons after the Raqqa battle is over. Syrian and Russian officials have both denied that preparations for a chemical attack are being carried out at the air base.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Majority of global poll respondents find Trump 'arrogant, dangerous'
Jun 28, 2017 - 18:17
He believes that dislike for Trump by journalists and analysts makes it more hard to be objective about Trump's foreign policy. Only 26 percent describe Trump as "well-qualified", while a mere 23 percent say he cares about ordinary people.