Ten government soldiers killed in Philippines military air strike: minister

MARAWI: arawi (Philippines) June 1 (ANI): The Philippine military mistakenly killed its own 11 soldiers in the course of targeting Islamist militants, said a military official on Thursday.

Ten soldiers were killed and eight wounded in a "friendly fire" incident in the southern Philippines, Defense Secretary Delfine Lorenzana said Thursday.

Seven other soldiers were wounded on Wednesday when two air force SF-260 close air support planes dropped bombs on a target in the heart of Marawi City, Delfin Lorenzana told reporters.

The bombing accident happened on Wednesday when one of two planes bombing rebel positions missed its target in the heart of Marawi City, where ground troops have been battling pro-Islamic State militants holed-up in buildings for nine days.

According to Lorenzana, the incident is now under investigation by a panel led by the Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año to ferret out the truth and hold accountable those involved. Padilla said militant leader Isnilon Hapilon is believed to still be in Marawi.

He insisted the release of the footage showed the militants were becoming increasingly desperate and said security forces would not back down.

Over the last week militants allied to the so-called Islamic State have engaged in street battles with the army leaving more than 100 people dead.

At least 25 soldiers, five policemen and more than 24 civilians have been killed in the clashes, Lorenzana said.

Numerous 500 who joined in the fighting were trying to slip out of Marawi, blending in with fleeing civilians, he said.

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The bodies of two Saudi Arabians, two Malaysians, two Indonesians, a Yemeni and a Chechen were among those discovered.

'The AFP will let its ground commander decide whether to suspend airstrikes against the rebels.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is concerned radical ideology is spreading in the southern Philippines and it could become a haven for militants from Southeast Asia and beyond. "Maybe the coordination was not properly done so we hit our own people", he added.

Dela Rosa's statement was in reaction to reports that more foreigners are planning to reinforce Maute fighters in Marawi.

"I was glad to see that he is alive but we were also saddened because the fact that the terrorists are ready to negotiate means they are pressed against the wall and they are also desirous to get away from the situation and their bargaining chip are the hostages", he said in a telephone interview.

Duterte declared martial law in the Mindanao region, the southern third of the Philippines, to crush the insurrection, and poured in troops backed by airstrikes, artillery fire and armored vehicles.

At least 5,000 members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) - a separatist Muslim militant organization that has signed a peace treaty with Manila - are positioned around Marawi ready to assist government forces, CNN Philippines reported Wednesday.

The majority of the city's population of 200,000 people is believed to have fled the city, but authorities believe 2,000 others remain trapped by the fighting.

  • Adam Floyd