Duterte: Philippines won't talk with ISIS, even if it kills hostages


In fighting on Friday, Philippine planes dropped bombs and helicopters delivered rockets on militant positions.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said yesterday in Malaca├▒ang that he was confident government troops would take full control of entire Marawi City by its self-imposed deadline of June 2.

On Wednesday, an air strike aimed at flushing out rebels killed 10 troops, a major blow that the army said was an accident of the sort that sometimes happens in the "fog of war".

Padilla said 36 government troops have been killed in action during the ongoing clearing operations in Marawi, a Muslim majority city in Lanao del Sur province that is part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Gen. Eduardo Ano, the military chief of staff, separately told The Associated Press that the radicals are trying "to show the world that there is an ISIS branch here which can inflict the kind of violence that has been seen in Syria and Iraq".

Lorenzana said militants who were Saudi, Malaysian, Indonesian, Yemeni and Chechen were among eight foreigners killed in the fighting, in what experts say is a sign the Philippines may have a major problem on its hands. Twenty-five of the dead militants have been identified as Filipinos, according to military officials. "And if it means many people dying, so be it", Duterte said at a news conference last week, after returning from an abbreviated diplomatic visit to Russian Federation.

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Shortly after the situation in Marawi descended into chaos, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on Mindanao, the island where the city lies, suggesting he might soon broaden that emergency status nationwide.

He insisted the release of the footage showed the militants were becoming increasingly desperate and said security forces would not back down.

A Muslim separatist rebellion in the southern Philippines has killed more than 120,000 people since the 1970s. He said the Maute group was being given too much credit, and that the occupation of Marawi was the work of Islamic State, and planned a long time ago. Spokesman Restituto Padilla said "I dont think we can meet the deadline to completely free Marawi of every single armed element on every street". The running gun battle has also displaced thousands of residents.

"We will not prevent the ground commander from using this means of delivering military power if he decides that it is still required and needed". "The only things we saved are the clothes we're wearing, but at least we're all alive".

On Thursday, 400 marines from Manila were deployed to Marawi, which remains in lockdown with continuing clashes between government forces and Maute, a local group linked to Islamic State.

The fighting in Marawi has been raging for 11 days.