End of Marawi conflict dawns after death of Omar Maute, Hapilon

End of Marawi conflict dawns after death of Omar Maute, Hapilon

End of Marawi conflict dawns after death of Omar Maute, Hapilon

Ahmad is the top remaining target for government forces battling to end the almost five-month siege of Marawi that has claimed more than 1,000 lives and left the Islamic city in ruins.

The military, which killed two key militant leaders on Monday, said they hoped it was the final phase of defeating a dwindling band of fighters who had occupied Marawi for nearly five months.

"They (troops) were able to get a testimony from a hostage that was able to escape and the hostage was able to confirm the presence of Hapilon and [Omar] Maute in a particular building, so that was the building we assaulted this morning", Lorenzana explained.

The military said Monday Hapilon - on the U.S. "most wanted terrorists" list - was killed in a dawn offensive alongside Omarkhayam Maute, one of two brothers who with Hapilon plotted to take over the city. He said the fighting is nearing its end, but "We will take all the time we need so we can save whatever lives are still in the battle zone".

Philippines security forces had laid siege to the city on 23 May after President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law in the region to conduct the anti-terror operation against Isis-linked Abu Sayyaf group and Maute group.

The military, boosted by the deaths of two key militant leaders in a gunbattle the day before, hopes the current fighting is the final phase of defeating a dwindling band of fighters who are now trapped in an area the army says is about 2 hectares (5 acres).

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THE deaths of the two terrorist leaders in Marawi City on Monday should not be cause for state forces to become complacent as there are still violent extremists who may continue to wage war against the government, a military official said Tuesday.

The Philippine government had offered a 10m Philippines peso bounty for Hapilon on top of the $5m reward offered by the US.

The military's recent offensive led to the release of 17 hostages, according to Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesperson for the Marawi Crisis Management Committee. "We may announce the termination of hostilities in the couple of days".

Since then more than 1,000 people have been killed and 400,000 residents displaced as insurgents were hit with a relentless bombing campaign and intense ground battles with troops.

The rebel alliance in Marawi is comprised of fighters from the Maute group, Abu Sayyaf, and aided by foreigners from countries that include Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and some Middle East states. "It's going to be a new battle".

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