Filipino troops backed by fighter jets attacked a remote camp of Muslim militants linked to the Islamic State group Tuesday in a dawn attack in the south of the country that killed two insurgents and a soldier, military officials said.
Two soldiers were injured in the attack on the camp of about 50 fighters from the Dawlah Islamiya group near the city of Maguing in Lanao del Sur province. Air Force fighter jets dropped a dozen bombs as Army troops launched a ground attack, regional military commander Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr.
The gunmen fled after the airstrikes and are being pursued, Rosario and other military officials said. The attack was staged far from rural communities to prevent civilians from being caught in the crossfire, they said.
Military officials said troops continued to sporadically clash with fleeing militants led by a militant commander they identified as Abu Zachariah.
Members of the Dawlah Islamiya were involved in a siege of the southern city of Marawi in 2017, in which hundreds of militants waving black flags in the style of the Islamic State group occupied businesses and villages and took hostages. Filipino troops, supported by US and Australian surveillance planes, crushed the five-month siege that left about 1,200 dead, mostly militants.
The military has launched offensives against small armed groups allied to the militants who have besieged Marawi, including the Abu Sayyaf, which has been blacklisted by the US and Philippines for past bombings, kidnappings for ransom and beheadings.
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