Philippine marines killed in fighting with militants

Philippine marines killed in fighting with militants

The military said on Friday its aim was to end the siege in Marawi City by Monday, the Philippines' independence day. The aircraft flew above rocket-firing Philippine helicopters that struck militant positions, causing plumes of smoke to billow skyward.

"We don't have adequate surveillance equipment, so we asked the U.S. military for assistance".

"We are saddened with the result.We have fatalities on the government side", he said.

"At the request of the government of the Philippines, US special operations forces are assisting the AFP with ongoing operations in Marawi that help AFP commanders on the ground in their fight against Maute and ASG militants", the spokesperson said.

"We have indicated to the Philippines. we stand ready to assist if there is a request", she told reporters.

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Herrera said the militants' tactics was making it harder for security forces to carry out attacks without causing civilian casualties and hurting religious sensitivities.

In a statement released Saturday the ministry says that nine others were wounded in the attack Friday night in Gardez, the capital of Paktia province.

At least 138 militants and 20 civilians have also been killed, the government said.

In April, troops killed dozens of Maute militants and captured their jungle camp near Lanao del Sur's Piagapo town. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the city, parts of which were reduced to rubble by fighting and government airstrikes in an attempt to dislodge the rebels.

Colonel Arevalo added the "temporary setback" had "not diminished our resolve a bit".

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Filipino forces, meanwhile, captured on Friday the mother of two top militant leaders leading the siege.

The Maute's patriarch, Cayamora Maute, was also apprehended Tuesday morning at a checkpoint in Sirawan, Toril, Davao City. "They are just providing technical support".

U.S. military involvement on the island of Mindanao, 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of Manila, would mark a turn in strains exemplified by President Rodrigo Duterte's past pledges to expel United States troops after decades of cooperation. Mindanao was put under martial law to prevent the hostilities from spreading.

Associated Press writer Jim Gomez and photographer Aaron Favila contributed to this report.

The little-known Maute group has been a fierce enemy of a military with superior firepower and greater troop strength.

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Family members of victims from a military plane crash prepare for a funeral ceremony in Dawei June 9, 2017.

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