Filipino says rebels in city down to 60

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

MANILA, Philip­pines — The Philip­pine mil­i­tary said Fri­day that only about 60 pro-Is­lamic State mil­i­tants are still fight­ing in the south­ern city of Marawi, where the two-month bat­tle has left 630 peo­ple dead and swaths of the Is­lamic re­gion in ru­ins.

Mil­i­tary spokesman Brig. Gen. Resti­tuto Padilla said most of the mil­i­tants’ lead­ers are be­lieved to be still with the main group of gun­men fight­ing in an area less than half a square mile. De­spite the mil­i­tants’ set­backs, of­fi­cials still couldn’t say when the vi­o­lence will end.

“Our troops are in a very high state of morale, all lean­ing for­ward to fin­ish this op­er­a­tion at the soon­est time pos­si­ble,” Padilla said in a news con­fer­ence in Manila.

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has said he or­dered troops to re­frain from stag­ing an as­sault to en­sure the safety of hostages still held by the gun­men, pos­si­bly in a mosque. As of the 67th day of fight­ing, 471 mil­i­tants, 114 troops and po­lice and 45 civil­ians have been killed, ac­cord­ing to the mil­i­tary.

AP/DMITRI LOVETSKY

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with a Soyuz MS-05 space­ship car­ry­ing a new crew to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion blasts off Fri­day at the Rus­sian-leased Baikonur cos­mod­rome in Kaza­khstan. The Rus­sian rocket car­ries U.S. as­tro­naut Randy Bres­nik, Rus­sian cos­mo­naut Sergey Ryazan­skiy and Ital­ian as­tro­naut Paolo Ne­spoli.

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