BREAKING: Commandos DEPLOYED After All HELL Breaks Loose

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Dean James III% AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS

The Philippines mobilized attack helicopters and special forces to drive Islamic State-linked rebels out of a besieged southern city on Thursday, with six soldiers killed in street combat amid heavy resistance.

Reuters reports that ground troops hid behind walls and armored vehicles and exchanged volleys of gunfire with Maute group fighters, shooting into elevated positions occupied by militants who have held Marawi City on Mindanao island for two days.

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Helicopters circled the city, peppering Maute positions with machine gun fire to try to force them from a bridge vital to retaking Marawi, a mainly Muslim city of 200,000 where fighters had torched and seized a school, a jail and a cathedral, and took more than a dozen hostages.

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“Our troops are doing deliberate operations in areas we believe are still occupied or infested with the terrorist presence,” said the head of the task force, Brigadier General Rolly Bautista.

The battles with the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, started on Tuesday during a failed raid by security forces on one of the group’s hideouts that spiraled into chaos.

Eighteen rebels were killed on Thursday, the army said.

The turmoil was the final straw for President Rodrigo Duterte, who on Tuesday delivered on his longstanding threat to impose martial law on Mindanao, the country’s second-largest island, to stop the spread of radical Islam.

Breitbart reports that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to expand a 60-day state of emergency in southern Mindanao to the whole country should the Maute group, a terrorist organization that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), expand its killing spree beyond the island.

Duterte, who arrived home from an abbreviated trip to Russia Wednesday, elaborated on the implications of martial law on the island. The president suspended the writ of habeas corpus and announced that police would no longer require a warrant on the island to arrest anyone suspected of being a member of the terrorist group.

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“Checkpoints will be allowed. Searches will be allowed. Arrest without a warrant will be allowed in Mindanao,” Duterte explained. “And I do not need to secure any search warrant or a warrant of arrest. If you are identified positively on the other side, you can be arrested and detained.”

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“Anyone caught possessing a gun and confronting us with violence, my orders are shoot to kill. I will not hesitate to do it,” he vowed. “If I think that you should die, you will die. If you fight us, you will die. If there is an open defiance, you will die.”

“Anyone now holding a gun, confronting government with violence, my orders are spare no one, let us solve the problems of Mindanao once and for all. Do not force my hands into it,” he added. Duterte added that he was mulling an order to allow civilians to use their legally purchased guns against Maute terrorists and carry them publicly to deter violence.

Duterte added the rare warning that he would not allow police to abuse human rights with impunity. “I will assure you I am not willing to allow abuses. Government is still running, the Congress is functioning, and the courts are open for citizens to seek grievance,” he assured residents.

“If there’s an open defiance you will die,” he said on Wednesday. “And if it means many people dying, so be it.”

Islamic State claimed responsibility late on Wednesday for Maute’s activities via its Amaq news agency.

At least 46 people – 15 security forces and 31 rebels – have been killed and religious leaders say militants were using Christians taken hostage during the fighting as human shields. The status of those hostages was not known.

The White House condemned the Maute group as “cowardly terrorists” and said the United States was a proud ally of the Philippines and backed its fight against extremism.

GETTING OUT

Hundreds of civilians had sheltered in a military camp in Marawi City as troops helped clear the few remaining people from streets where smoke lingered in the air.

“We’re leaving,” said a resident named Edith, walking along a rundown street carrying a small suitcase. “We can no longer take it and we need to save our children.”

Sultan Haji Ismael Demasala said he was staying and would leave his fate in God’s hands. “If Allah wills it so, then we cannot stop it,” he said, pointing his finger in the air.

Marawi is located in Lanao del Sur province, a stronghold of the Maute, a fierce, but little-known group that has been a tricky opponent for the military.

Military leaders say the Maute’s motivation for taking the city was to raise its profile and earn recognition from Islamic State.

“We are in a state of emergency,” Duterte said Wednesday after he cut short a trip to Moscow and flew back to Manila. “I have a serious problem in Mindanao and the ISIS footprints are everywhere.”

He threatened to extend it to the whole country “in order to protect the people.”

“If I think that ISIS has taken a foothold also in Luzon, and terrorism is not really far behind, I might declare martial law throughout the country,” Duterte said Wednesday.

Duterte said a local police chief was stopped at a militant checkpoint and beheaded.

Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Pena said the militants forced their way into the Marawi Cathedral and seized a Catholic priest, 10 worshippers and three church workers.

Military spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo said 13 militants had been killed, and that five soldiers had died and 31 others were wounded. Other officials said a security guard and two policemen were also killed, including the beheaded police chief.

Arevalo said troops had cleared militants from a hospital, the city hall and Mindanao State University. About 120 civilians were rescued from the hospital, the military said.

Thousands of people have fled the city, said Mary Jo Henry, an emergency response official. She quoted another official as saying Marawi was like “a ghost town.”

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Philippine intelligence officials believe Abu Sayyaf is a group of about 400 Islamic militants were earlier affiliated to Al Qaeda but have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf — armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles — has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.

It is one of two militant groups in the south who have pledged allegiance to Daesh, prompting fears during the stalling of a peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that it could make inroads in a region torn by decades of armed conflict.

Abu Sayyaf is infamous for abducting foreign and local tourists, then ransoming them off and operate mostly in the southern islands of Basilan and Sulu.

Last year, the group beheaded two Canadian hostages after seizing them from a beach resort on Samal Island.

The bombing of a night market in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown Davao last year was also blamed on the militant group after one of the suspects in the bombing was revealed to be an Abu Sayyaf associate who once worked in the central Philippines.

In February, the group beheaded a 70-year-old yachtsman from Germany, Jurgen Kantner after his government refused to pay a $600,000 ransom.

Their most deadly attack came in 2004, when the militants bombed a passenger ferry off Manila Bay, killing more than 100.

The attack also became one of the country’s worst terrorist attacks.

Abu Sayyaf, whose overall commander is believed to be Alhabsi Misaya, remains one of the most serious militant threats in the region.

Last month, troops backed by airstrikes killed dozens of Maute militants and captured their jungle camp near Lanao del Sur’s Piagapo town. Troops found homemade bombs, grenades, combat uniforms and passports of suspected Indonesian militants in the camp, the military said.

Source- AFF

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