IS Southeast Asia chief killed in Philippines

The insurgents have withstood a relentless US-backed bombing campaign and intense ground battles with troops that have left large parts of Marawi resembling devastated cities in war-torn Syria and Iraq

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed in a interview over GMA-7 that Maute terrorist group leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute have been killed during a military operation Monday, which also led to the rescue of 17 hostages in Marawi City.

There is no report on the status of Abdullah Maute, Omar's brother.

Philippine security officials say the two final surviving leaders of a deadly siege in the south, including a top Asian terror suspect, have been killed in fierce fighting. The military, however, has yet to issue an official statement regarding the terrorists' death.

A local TV showed a black and white picture of purportedly the body of Isnilon Hapilon, the alleged emir of the IS in Southeast Asia. "Until now our troops are still assaulting the defensive positions of the Maute-IS, and despite the fact that we have set today as a target day for finishing the armed conflict, our troops are still pushing hard, fighting hard to meet this target", Brawner said.

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The military said Isnilon Hapilon is allegedly the emir of the worldwide jihadist group IS in Southeast Asia.

Duterte had imposed a martial law in his home region of Mindanao, of which Marawi is a part to conduct a crackdown on the ISIS-aligned extremists as Hapilon and Maute led the raid on Marawi in May, forcing hundreds of residents to flee. They said more than 1,000 people have been killed in the fighting, according to AFP.

The rebel alliance in Marawi is comprised of fighters from the Maute group, Abu Sayyaf, and aided by foreigners from countries that include Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and some Middle East states. As the military planned to arrest Hapilon on May 23, Maute members entered Marawi and fought with government troops. There were 47 civilian casualties.

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