Hostaged Marawi priest Chito Soganub rescued

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Security forces have engaged in ferocious street-to-street combat and launched airstrikes in efforts to expel the fighters from Marawi, in a battle that has left 800 dead and raised fears that the IS is looking to establish a South-east Asian base in the Philippines.

The military chief of the city of Marawi, which Daesh terrorists took over in May, said on Sunday that forces had captured the militants' command center after a fierce battle and were now engaged in a mopping-up operation.

"This enormous [military] gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile command and control hub", Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año said in a statement. "We are ready for that".

Fighters of the Maute local terror group were forced to abandon the historic Bato Mosque in Marawi, one of 3 enemy strongholds that fell into government control over the past days, as troops continue to press forward in the battle area. "He is like a paedophile, that son of a whore". They also forced the women to marry militants.

Some 600 terrorists have been killed since May 23 when the Maute Group attacked Marawi and took over some government buildings, hospitals, schools and banks.

This developed as Colonel Romeo Brawner, the deputy head of Joint Task Force Marawi, disclosed that some Maute terrorists have responded favourably to the military's appeal that they surrender.

Suganob was among the 20 people abducted by Maute group at the St. Mary's Cathedral on May 23, 2017. We thank the soldiers who rescued Father Chito and one teacher.

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He said they will inform the Bishops of Mindanao about the "good news" once they return from their trip overseas. "It was a fiercely fought five hours before government security forces subdued the terrorists who were strategically located in the buildings", he said.

"We will provide information and other pertinent details as soon as conditions on the ground allow us".

Malacañang also imposed a news blackout on the Marawi siege.

"We urge you to wait for the Official Statement on the matter to be issued by higher authorities", he added.

"The President has stated that he would minimize foreign travels for now to attend to pressing domestic concerns, such as the rehabilitation of Marawi", Abella said.

Two civilians were rescued Sunday from the war zone in Marawi, some 4 months after they were taken by Islamic State-linked terrorists who laid siege to parts of the southern city.

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