Following the operational plan of the military troops postponing their supposed trip to Marawi, the defense chief said that troops were able to get the top terrorist leaders and rescue 17 more hostages inside the besieged city. "They are confirmed dead", Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo shortly before noon Monday.
"She was able to confirm the presence of Isnilon and Maute in that particular building". Lorenzana said teams were being sent to cities around Davao, Cotabato, Basilan and Zamboanga to meet with barangay leaders and residents, urging vigilance and briefing them on signs of suspicious activity to watch out for.
Men identified by Philippines Intelligence officers as Isnilon Hapilon (2nd left, yellow headscarf) and Abdullah Maute (2nd right, standing, long hair) are seen in this still image taken from video released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines June 7, 2MANILA, Oct 16 - Philippine troops killed two leaders of a militant alliance in an operation in southern Marawi City this morning, the defence minister said, a big boost to a military battling to contain the spread of Islamic State's radical ideology. "We could announce the end of hostilities in a day or two ".
The Philippine government had offered a 10m Philippines peso bounty for Hapilon on top of the $5m reward offered by the US.
The troops were able to locate Hapilon and Maute through the information provided by a female hostage who earlier escaped. The military said Hapilon and the Maute brothers plotted the Marawi siege on May 23.
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"The implication of this development is that the Marawi incident is nearly over and we may announce the termination of hostilities in a couple of days", Lorenzana said.
The troops are now hunting down Malaysian terrorist Mahmud bin Ahmad who helped lead and finance the Marawi siege, Lorenzana added.
Lorenzana said once fighting stops, "We will refocus our efforts on the challenging task of rebuilding and rehabilitating Marawi".
Lorenzana also disclosed that President Rodrigo Duterte was scheduled to visit Marawi again on Monday but said they were "prevailed by the commanders on the ground to postpone the trip because they are going to conduct the assault this morning".
In 2004, the group bombed a passenger ferry in Manila Bay, killing 116 people, while in 2014, Abu Sayyaf militants attacked civilians celebrating the end of Ramadan, in Talipao, in Sulu province in the far south west of the country, killing at least 21, according to the US State Department. More than 350,000 people from Marawi and its nearby towns have been displaced by the fighting. He left his lair in Basilan a year ago to join the Maute Group in Butig, Lanao Del Sur, where Omar Maute and his brother Abdullah led an occupation of Butig's town center.