Commandos sent in to end Philippine siege


(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez). Residents are seen on tops of vehicles as they continue to flee three days after Muslim militants lay siege in Marawi city in the southern Philippines, Thursday, May 25, 2017.

The violence erupted Tuesday night when authorities launched an unsuccessful raid to capture Hapilon.

MARAWI, Philippines (AP) - Philippine government forces launched "precision attacks" Thursday to clear militants linked to the Islamic State group from a southern city that has been under siege since a raid to capture a militant on the US list of most-wanted terrorists failed.

He vowed to be "harsh".

"Of course, our country needs modern weapons, we had orders in the United States, but now the situation there is not very smooth and in order to fight the Islamic State, with their units and factions, we need modern weapons", he said, according to Russian state news agency Tass. If there is open defiance, you will die.

He said many were hiding in buildings as snipers, making it hard for security forces to combat them.

He said the people do not want a repeat of such a crisis that left thousands of people displaced, hundreds dead and many civilians, particularly the urban poor still reeling from its impact despite years passing by.

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Meanwhile, the NDFP branded Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as "overzealous Martial Law supporter" after she issued a 30-point guidelines on Wednesday for Davao City residents to follow as a pre-emptive measures while Martial Law is in effect. Automatic gunfire and explosions could be heard clearly and plumes of black smoke rose from the direction of the city center. "I'm just praying that the bullets will not find its way to my house and hit us". "I've never seen anything like they are but we don't have to use this but he could be insane so we will see what happens".

As authorities try to gain more control over the city, disturbing details have emerged.

"I will not hesitate to do anything and everything to protect and preserve the Filipino nation", the president said in response to the beheading of a local police chief after he was captured at a road checkpoint by ISIS militants.

Duterte said the series of terror acts committed by the Maute group, which include seizing and burning of several government facilities, establishment of checkpoints within the city and hoisting the flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) flag, constituted the crime of rebellion.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said the militants forced their way into a cathedral in Marawi and seized a priest, 10 worshippers and three church workers. He has repeatedly threatened to place the south, the scene of decades-long Muslim separatist uprisings, under martial law. Shortly after returning to Manila, the president said he was considering expanding martial law to the Visayas region and even Luzon, where the capital is, especially if terrorist groups spread their activities beyond Mindanao.

Abu Sayyaf called for reinforcements from an allied group, the Maute, and dozens of fighters managed to enter Marawi and sweep through its streets. The president has sought peace talks with two large Muslim rebel groups in the country's south but has ordered the military to destroy smaller extremist groups like the Maute. The groups have formed a loose alliance, reportedly led by Isnilon Hapilon, a commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group. "The Mautes are embedded in the population".

Nearly 9,000 people, many small-time drug users and dealers, have been killed in the Philippines since Duterte took office on June 30. Troops found homemade bombs, grenades, combat uniforms and passports of suspected Indonesian militants in the camp, the military said.