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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Gun fires break fragile Marawi truce

MARAWI CITY – Gun fires broke a fragile truce on Sunday between security forces and local ISIS militants as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Fitr in the besieged city of Marawi occupied by hundreds of jihadists since last month.

There were no immediate reports from the military whether fresh fighting erupted following the daylong ceasefire between the warring groups. ISIS fighters are still holed out in the city’s main district as security forces continue to advance to the area in an effort to dislodged the militants and rescue hundreds of trapped civilians and hostages.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año declared the truce on the eve of the Eid celebration following a recommendation made by the Western Mindanao Command.

“The declaration seeks to allow the Islamic faithful to celebrate prayerfully and peacefully Eid al-Fitr which happen to fall on Sunday, 25 June in Marawi. We declare a lull in our current operations in the city on that day as a manifestation of our high respect to the Islamic faith. A testimony to the AFP's solid commitment to provide our brother Muslims especially in the City of Marawi an opportunity to observe this festive event marking the end of the month-long period of Ramadan,” Año said.

But the truce also gave some time for ISIS militants to rest from the fighting which is now on its second month. The militants occupied Marawi on May 23 in an effort to carve an Islamic State province in the restive, but mineral-rich region.

The military said troops may liberate Marawi soon from the hands of ISIS fighters, adding, security forces had killed nearly 300 militants, but the numbers were all based on raw information and not body counts. And military casualties continue to climb up as the fighting rage with over 5 dozen soldiers killed in action and about 2 dozen civilians perished in the violence. (With reports from Moh Saaduddin and Rhoderick Beñez.)

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