Philippines Celebrates Independence Day By Bombing ISIS

With dozens of journalists enquiring about his comment that U.S. special forces are helping Philippine soldiers in Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he is thankful that they are already there.

NDFP-Mindanao also hit the military advisers and officers of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte who were responsible for the declaration of martial law.

Some 300 have been killed in the fighting, including militants, Philippine army fighters and civilians.

China supports the Philippine government's "anti-terrorism" operations against Islamist militants, the Chinese foreign ministry said Monday after USA special forces provided support to Filipino troops.

USA was quick to support the Filipino army against the Islamist militants of ISIS as the two nations had tense relations although the two nations have been long-time allies and had strong ties.

The cooperation between the longtime allies is significant because Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who came to power a year ago, has taken a hostile stance towards Washington and has vowed to eject USA military trainers and advisers from his country. At least 20 civilians and more than 100 rebel fighters have also been killed in the fighting.

The Armed Forces has promised to liberate Marawi from terrorists by today, June 12, the 119th anniversary of Philippine Independence.

The BBC's Jonathan Head says there are several reports that the Maute brothers, who lead the Maute group, are among the dead, with intercepted communications from jihadist groups suggesting this.

She added that "the USA government continues to work with the AFP to increase intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities through security assistance and training".

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"The local terrorist groups are using the mosque; they are entrenched there", he said.

The request for US assistance came eight months after Duterte suggested he would end joint military drills with the USA, after President Barack Obama's criticism of the extrajudicial killing of thousands of people in the war on drugs that human rights advocates say has disproportionately targeted the urban poor.

The US troops are not fighting, but an American surveillance plane was seen flying over the city on Friday.

The attack was linked to an ISIS-affiliated group.

"They are not fighting".

'We believe the enemy has strong defensive positions, ' he said.

The seizure of Marawi by fighters allied to Islamic State, including some from the Middle East, has alarmed South-East Asian nations which fear the ultra-radical group - on a backfoot in Iraq and Syria - is trying to set up a stronghold on Mindanao that could threaten their region.

The gunmen were using the hostages as human shields, hiding in mosques and utilizing an underground tunnel network in the city, making it hard for troops to manoeuvre, he added.

"The Philippines is open to assistance from other countries if they offer it", presidential spokesman Ernie Abella said Sunday.

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