World Middle East 31 May 2017 Death toll rises to ...

Death toll rises to 129 in Philippine troops' assault on militants

AP | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published May 31, 2017, 2:25 pm IST
Updated May 31, 2017, 2:26 pm IST
A Philippine Marine guards communication equipment, high-powered firearms, including a 50-caliber machinegun, ammunitions, uniforms, and black ISIS-style flags Tuesday in Marawi city southern Philippines. (Photo: AP)
 A Philippine Marine guards communication equipment, high-powered firearms, including a 50-caliber machinegun, ammunitions, uniforms, and black ISIS-style flags Tuesday in Marawi city southern Philippines. (Photo: AP)

Marawi (Philippines): Officials say the death toll in troops' operation to flush out militants linked to the Islamic State group who have laid siege to a southern Philippine city has risen to 129, with 89 extremists among the dead.

Military spokesman Restituto Padilla said Wednesday 960 civilians have been rescued, and an estimated 1,000 residents remain trapped in Marawi. He says troops have cleared almost 90 percent of the city, where the gunmen have been fending off the military for more than a week.

Padilla says a video of a Catholic priest taken hostage appears authentic but is likely being used by militants for propaganda.

The siege in Marawi followed an unsuccessful army raid to capture militant commander Isnilon Hapilon, designated by the Islamic State group as its leader in the Philippines.

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