Philippines says 8 foreign fighters killed in southern siege


A marine battalion left an air force base in Manila on deployment to the southern city of Marawi where ongoing violence has killed scores of people.

Ten Philippine soldiers were killed after fighter jet hit its own troops during efforts to drive out ISIL fighters from Marawi City, the defence minister said on Thursday.

"The public might think that the army doesn't care about the current situation, but, that is wrong", said Indonesian Army (TNI) spokesman Brigadier General Alfret Denny Tuejeh, as quoted by Kompas.

Seven more troops were also wounded in Wednesday's botched airstrike, although no civilians were reportedly hurt.

"Sometimes the fog of war".

There were eight foreigners killed who were known to be fighting with the rebels, he said.

Earlier on May 23, a clash sparked between government forces and an Islamic States (IS)-linked militant group in Marawi City, prompting Duterte to impose martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus in the whole Mindanao later on the same day. Lorenzana also revealed on Thursday that officials had counted eight foreign nationals among the dead fighters, including people from Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Chechnya and Yemen.

In a statement released late Wednesday, Moody's said "we expect the impact on economic activity from the crisis in Marawi to be minimal and short-lived".

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The incident came a week after the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law in the Mindanao island to fight Maute group militants that have links with the Islamic State. "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.

He said the corridor will be implemented by the government and the main separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has signed a peace agreement in exchange for Muslim autonomy in Mindanao, the southern third of the Philippines.

Mr. Lorenzana said he believes the slain foreign gunmen were "ISIS members".

Since then, the Isis fighters have captured the city and held the citizens hostage.

He suspected that the U.S. government's Central Intelligence Agency that once trained and funded the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to topple the Syrian government may have played a role in the Marawi crisis because of the Duterte administration's push for independent foreign policy. There could be more that we killed that we have not identified because we have already - as of our body count - we already killed about 95 of them.

Padilla said 960 civilians have been rescued and an estimated 1,000 residents remain trapped.

"He knows, we know what we are entering into but the mission continue", he said.