On October 17, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared the city of Marawi liberated from ISIS militants following a five-month standoff with a local branch of the terrorist group.
“I hereby declare Marawi City liberated from the terrorist influence that marks the beginning of rehabilitation of Marawi,” Duterte said during a visit on the island of Mindanao.
However, about 20-30 ISIS linked militants were still remaining in the city with 20 hostages when the presiden made his statement.
Philippine security forces are now clashing with them.
The announcement of the city liberation came after Philippine Defense Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, said two top ISIS members in Marawi – Ipsilon Hapilon and Omar Maute – were killed in a firefight with government forces. Hapilon was the leader of the Abu Sayyaf militant group, and was named by ISIS as the group’s emir in Southeast Asia.
According to the Philippine armed Forces, over 800 ISIS militants and 162 government security service members have been killed in the battle for Marawi so far.