PETALING JAYA: Intelligence sources say two Malaysians are believed to be among 13 Islamic State (IS) militants killed today in battles between the Philippines’ military and Islamist militants in Marawi city in central Mindanao.
According to a report in The Star, the Malaysians have been identified as Abdurahman Asmawi from Kelantan and Kamsa Yahya from Kedah.
The sources said another Malaysian, former Universiti Malaya lecturer Dr Mahmud Ahmad, is also in Marawi City, working with Abu Sayyaf leader Isninon Hapilon. They added that they are not certain if there are any other Malaysians linked to IS fighting in Marawi.
The Philippines’ military has gained ground to flush out the militants holding out in the city, who numbered between 200 and 500 members.
“We are using surgical airstrikes,” local military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera told reporters in Marawi shortly before big clouds of black smoke rose from a bombed area near the provincial government building.
Most of Marawi’s 200,000 residents have fled the city, but Herrera said those who remained had been warned to get out of the areas.
“We are requesting our people in Marawi to go to safe places… and to stay indoors,” he said.
According to authorities, five soldiers, two policemen and 13 militants have died in the three days of fighting.