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13 Philippine marines killed in gunbattles with Islamist militants in Marawi

AFP
Published : Jun 10, 2017, 1:26 pm IST
Updated : Jun 10, 2017, 1:49 pm IST

The fresh casualties brought to 58 the number of government troops killed in the fighting, Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera said.

Soldiers ride a military vehicle on the outskirts of Marawi city, southern Philippines. The Philippine military says 13 marines have been killed in fierce fighting with Muslim militants who have laid siege to southern Marawi city. (Photo: AP)
 Soldiers ride a military vehicle on the outskirts of Marawi city, southern Philippines. The Philippine military says 13 marines have been killed in fierce fighting with Muslim militants who have laid siege to southern Marawi city. (Photo: AP)

Marawi (Philippines): Thirteen Philippine marines have been killed in fresh gun battles with Islamist militants who have overrun parts of a southern city, a military spokesman said on Saturday, in a dramatic surge in the toll from two weeks of fierce fighting.

Philippine troops are struggling to dislodge hundreds of fighters, who rampaged through the mainly Muslim city of Marawi on May 23 flying black flags of the Islamic State group, and have used bomb-proof tunnels, anti-tank weapons and human shields to fortify their positions.

Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera said the military was verifying the number of troops wounded in Friday's ferocious, sometimes house-to-house gun battles with the militants.

"We are saddened with the result we have fatalities on the government side. We have incurred 13 killed in action," Herrera said at a news conference in Marawi.

The fresh casualties brought to 58 the number of government troops killed in the fighting, Herrera said. At least 138 militants and 20 civilians have also been killed, the government said.

The militants have so far withstood more than two weeks air and ground assaults by security forces, although the military said they occupy only around 10 percent of the city.

Tags: islamist militants, bomb-proof tunnels, anti-tank weapons, security forces
Location: Philippines, Central Mindanao, Marawi
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