Filipino mil­i­tants hole up in town

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

MARAWI CITY: Is­lamist mil­i­tants un­der at­tack in a south­ern Philip­pines town stocked weapons and food in mosques, tun­nels and base­ments to pre­pare for a long siege, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day as the bat­tle for con­trol of Marawi City came to the end of its sec­ond week.

Their com­ments un­der­lined the level of or­gan­i­sa­tion among fight­ers linked to the Is­lamic State group, whose ranks of sev­eral hun­dred in­cluded for­eign­ers from In­done­sia, Malaysia, In­dia, Saudi Ara­bia, Chech­nya and Morocco.

The bat­tle for Marawi City has raised con­cerns that the ul­tra-rad­i­cal IS is build­ing a South­east Asia base on the is­land of Min­danao at the south­ern end of the Philip­pines.

Philip­pines Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has said Marawi City would be lib­er­ated within three days, but yes­ter­day of­fi­cials were more cir­cum­spect on the tim­ing and gave con­flict­ing es­ti­mates. Reuters

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