MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The military suffered another bloodbath in Marawi City with up to 9 soldiers killed and 41 others wounded in clashes with local terror groups linked with the Islamic State (SIS).
The casualties were recorded on Saturday, July 22, from several incidents in the battle zone, said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Lorenzana fears the fighting will continue to drag on. "Nakakalungkot nga. Akala ko minimized na casualties kasi malapit nang matapos. Tumitindi pa lalo labanan. Kung ganiyan matatagalan pa," he said.
(It is disheartening. I thought the casualties will be minimized because we're nearing the end of the crisis. But the clashes are getting fiercer. This could take a while.)
In one incident, 4 soldiers were killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) blew up while they were clearing a building, Lorenzana said.
Rappler observed heavy fighting and successive aistrikes on that day when several journalists were allowed to visit military positions less than 300 meters from the main battle area.
"Maraming nakatanim na explosives sa mga buildings (Many explosives were planted in the buildings)," said Lorenzana. He said they detonated when the troops entered the buildings.
It happened a few days after the military scored a major triumph in regaining control of the extension road from Mapandi Bridge.
The military death toll reached the 3-digit mark with at least 114 soldiers killed, based on statements from the government.
The war in Marawi marked its 61st day on Sunday, the first day of the 5-month extension of martial law in Mindanao granted by Congress to President Rodrigo Duterte. – Rappler.com