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1 dead, 13 wounded in raid to get Hapilon

MANILA, Philippines — A soldier was killed and 13 others wounded in a dawn raid yesterday by the military on a mosque in Marawi where Abu Sayyaf and Maute commander Isnilon Hapilon was believed to be holed up.

GMA News, quoting intelligence sources, reported that the firefight raged until morning.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is sending more soldiers to Marawi’s main battle area as it pushes to end the fight against the Maute group in the next few days or weeks.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said some 60 to 80 troops would be deployed for the military’s continuing offensives and its efforts to rescue the remaining hostages.

“The focus of the operation is still to rescue the remaining hostages,” he told reporters yesterday, noting information gathered from rescued hostages could help soldiers carry out effective rescue mission.

He said there are about 40 to 45 hostages still being held captive by the Maute group, which reportedly has lost control of strategic locations like the Bato mosque.

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“It will take days, but we can’t specify if it’s 10 days or maybe two weeks,” Galvez said when asked how much time is needed to completely liberate Marawi City.

The fighting entered its 126th day yesterday.

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