Philippine forces hit militants; civilians wave white flags

Philippine military jets fired rockets at militant positions Saturday as soldiers fought to wrest control of a southern city from gunmen linked to the Islamic State group, witnesses said. Civilians waved flags from their windows to show they are not combatants.


The city of Marawi, home to some 200,000 people, has been under siege by IS-linked militants since a failed raid Tuesday night on a suspected hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, who is on Washington’s list of most-wanted terrorists. Hapilon got away and fighters loyal to him took over parts of the city, burning buildings and seizing about a dozen hostages, including a priest. Their condition was not known.

At least 44 people have died in the fighting, including 31 militants and 11 soldiers, officials say. It was not clear whether civilians were among the dead.

The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday to declare 60 days of martial law in the southern Philippines, where a Muslim rebellion has raged for decades. But the recent violence has raised fears that…

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