Clashes flared up between the Philippines army and the IS-linked terrorist groups; 44 killed including 31 terrorists.

Manila : A severe conflict flared up between the Philippines army and the IS-linked terrorists groups on Mindanao island in Philippines. A few days ago, the President of Philippines Rodrigo Duterte had imposed ‘martial law’ in this region. The conflict started after efforts to apprehend Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of the IS-linked group, failed and the terrorist groups have since managed to gain control over a part of the city of ‘Marawi’.

Philippines army has undertaken an aggressive operation in the ’Marawi’ region with the help of additional military brigades and helicopters. Since Friday, the helicopters have been targeting suspicious terrorist areas with rockets. While a thorough combing operation is going on in the city, a few clashes were reported at some places between the army and the terrorists.

Since Marawi has a civil population of over 2 lakh,  the army is facing several difficulties in carrying out their operations. However, the military has provided protection to those citizens opting to move out of the town and thousands are reported to have fled already.

The IS-linked Maute group had succeded in wresting control of certain government offices and important building in the Tuesday clash.

The army has not succeeded in regaining full control of the city even after five days of military operation. Although the army has claimed to have killed 31 terrorists in this operation ongoing for the past 5 days, the terrorists are offering severe resistance and a few foreign terrorists are also said to be involved in the conflict. The army has stated that Happilin, the leader of the IS-linked group, is still in the city and the terrorist groups are making all-out efforts to sneak him out of the city.

On Friday, Phillippines President Duarte has, by an order, given a free hand to his army for wiping out the terrorists. Duarte has already warned that in order to protect the Phillippinean people, the Martial Law shall be declared in the whole country. Meanwhile, the US and Russia have extended support to President Duarte’s decision to impose ‘Martial Law’ and the anti-terrorist operation he has started against the IS.

The conflict in Phillippines has again brought to the fore, the issue of growing clout of the IS in the south-east Asia. During last year, there were reports that apart from Phillippines, the number of pro-IS persons and their activities are on the increase in Indonesia and Malaysia also. As per a claim, the two suicide-bombings, carried out in Indonesia during last year, were also the handiwork of the terror outfit IS.