Five soldiers and two police officers had been killed and 31 other soldiers had been wounded by the second day of fighting in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, according to Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The casualties increased as the battle between the government troops and the combined forces of the Abu Sayyaf and the Maute Group dragged on to its second day on Wednesday.
Thousands have fled from the fighting, causing heavy traffic at the exit points of Marawi.
The fighting started on Tuesday afternoon after the military launched an operation to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, seen as the overall leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia according to reports. –Frances Mangosing /atm
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