US wanted terror leader may have fled Philippine city: army

Posted June 25, 2017

Asked if Hapilon was on the run, he said: "Yes, yes because reportedly he suffered a lot of casualties".

Hapilon, who is on the America's most wanted terror list and has a $5m (£3.9m) bounty on his head, was indicted in Washington for his involvement in the kidnapping of three Americans in the Philippines in 2001.

He leads a faction of the Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf that has pledged allegiance to IS.

Security analysts say he has been recognized by IS as its "amir", or leader, in Southeast Asia, a region where the group wants to establish a province.

The Islamist gunmen laid siege in Marawi City on May 23 to establish a caliphate for IS group, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.

Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, military spokesperson for Mindanao, said aggressive security operations and tightened security measures have made the implementation of martial rule successful.

Padilla said the cease-fire will be observed by the military "as a gesture of our strong commitment and respect to the Muslim world", particularly to Marawi's Muslim residents.

"These people are suicidal".

The militants in Indonesia and Philippines were encouraged by series of terror attacks in Bangladesh from early 2013 to last year's July 1 Gulshan cafe attack and they wanted to follow the model of the attacks in their home countries, according to a recent report of Indonesia-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC).

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He said the militants are seeking shelter in bunkers and tunnels built by Marawi residents to protect themselves against possible clan wars and unrest related to a Muslim insurgency in Mindanao. The video was seized by Filipino troops from a militant hideout on 23 May.

A source told The Manila Times however that key leaders of the terrorists laying siege to Marawi City in Lanao del Sur were still alive.

"We have been told that the military has information of the spot where he was buried and government troops are now trying to locate it and recover the remains", Abella said.

Governoment on Saturday night declared an eight-hour "humanitarian pause" from 6 2 p.m. on Sunday to "give reverence to the supposed peaceful, joyous and festive spiritual celebration" of Eid'l Fitr, the end of the month-long Ramadan, a press statement from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

Of the slain foreign militants, two were Saudis, two were Malaysians, two were Indonesians, one was a Yemeni and one was a Chechen, according to the country's Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

The group, meanwhile, denied that Omar and Madie Maute were killed.

"To all people with heart-ache..."

The AP quoted Philippines military chief General Eduardo Ano as saying Mahmud Ahmad, 41, who helped lead and finance the assault on Marawi a month ago, was wounded in fighting last month and died on June 7.