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Duterte declared the southern city of Marawi liberated from pro-Islamic State militants on Tuesday, although a military spokesman said 20-30 rebels were still fighting it out and were holding about 20 hostages.
Soldiers posed with the dead bodies of rebel leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute on Monday after they were killed during an army offensive.
The military said he was among six to eight foreign fighters in a battle zone comprising about 60 to 80 buildings.Troops persisted in efforts to rescue about 20 hostages, Colonel Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of the task force battling the militants, told AFP.Philippine military chief General Eduardo Ano (center) holds an image of Islamic militant leader Hapilon, next to Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (right) showing an image of Maute, and Western Mindanao Commanding General Carlito Galvez (left) during a press conference at a military camp in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao Asked by reporters if Duterte's declaration was symbolic, Brawner said: 'Yes, because we cannot really say that (the area) is 100 percent cleared.'Padilla said Malaysian operative Mahmud Ahmad had been in Marawi City since the start of the fight and the military believed he was still there.Terrorism expert Ahmad Kumar Ramakrishna from Singapore's S.
Rajaratnam School of International Studies said if Mahmud Ahmad survived he would likely take over the leadership of ISIS-linked fighters in the southern Philippines.Isnilon Hapilon, Islamic State's 'emir' in Southeast Asia, and Omarkhayam Maute, one of two 'Khalifas' at the helm of the Dawla Islamiya militant alliance, were killed in a targeted operation on Monday and their bodies had been recovered and identified, authorities said Isnilon Hapilon, Islamic State's 'emir' in Southeast Asia, and Omarkhayam Maute, one of two 'Khalifas' at the helm of the Dawla Islamiya militant alliance, were killed in a targeted operation on Monday and their bodies had been recovered and identified, authorities said.