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Terrorist Rampage by Islamic Rebels in Philippines Sparks #PrayforMarawi

05-23-2017
ISIS philippines.jpg

An Islamic rebel group has reportedly hoisted the black flag of ISIS in the southern part of the Philippines.

Fighting between government troops and local terrorists belonging to a group known as Maute broke out around 2pm (local Philippines time).

Sounds of gunfire could be heard in video posted online.

Maute reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Chico Dimaro Usman, a resident of Marawi City, posted pictures of black-clad armed men walking the streets of the city.

"Marawi City is occupied by ISIS," Usman wrote on Facebook.

Phillippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who is visiting Russia, declared martial law in the Island of Mindanao where Marawi City is located.

"We have increased the deployment of troops and increased our points of engagement in several places," said Hermogenes Esperon, national security advisor, to president Duterte. "But we are in full control of the operation...The order is to pursue, keep pressing and keep in mind the safety of civilians also."

Meanwhile, local authorities in Marawi City have urged residents to seek cover.

"I'm appealing to residents of Marawi City to stay home, drop on the ground if they hear gunshots," vice governor of the city Mamintal Adiong told the Philippine Star newspaper. "They have to lock their doors and gates, too."

Reports say the men took also over a local medical center in the city then proceeded to replace the Philippine flag with an ISIS flag.

"We received a report from the community, they saw armed men…we checked that this is the core group of Maute, so we launched a surgical operation to neutralize the group planning to incite terrorism in Marawi City," said Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera with the Philippines military.

According to one account, hundreds of the armed terrorists tried to launch an attack on a military base located on the outskirts of Marawi City.

"The {military} directly blocked their way resulting {in an} exchange of fire," said Redoble Adonis with the 103rd Brigade. "Accordingly, not less than 500 members of Maute tried to penetrate the camp."

One police officer was killed and at least 8 soldiers injured. A college and local jail were set on fire by the terrorists.

Filipinos took to Twitter to show their support for the civilians and soldiers in Marawi City.

For several hours, the hashtag #PrayforMarawi topped Twitter's trending topics in the Philippines.

The Maute group is a radical Islamist organization made up of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front soldiers and some foreign fighters.

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