Marawi: Leaders of pro-Islamic State siege killed by Philippine troops, Defence Minister says

Marawi: Leaders of pro-Islamic State siege killed by Philippine troops, Defence Minister says

Marawi: Leaders of pro-Islamic State siege killed by Philippine troops, Defence Minister says

Updated 16 October 2017, 16:15 AEDT

Two leaders of a militant alliance loyal to the Islamic State group are killed in clashes with the armed forces of the Philippines in southern Marawi, the Defence Secretary says.

Two of the men responsible for the capture of the Philippine city of Marawi have been killed in clashes with armed forces.

Key points:

  • Leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon are killed in an armed forces operation
  • Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana has signalled the end of hostilities in Marawi within days
  • Mr Lorenzana said a hostage held by the Maute led them to the two leaders

Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon were killed during a Philippine Armed Forces operation earlier today, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

Mr Lorenzana said he now expects to announce the end of hostilities in Marawi within days — although previous predictions like this have come and gone.

Omar Maute and his brother Abdullah were responsible for planning the attack on Marawi in late May.

The brothers aligned themselves with Isnilon Hapilon, a former leader of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and the self-described emir of the Islamic State group (IS) in South-East Asia.

Mr Lorenzana said a hostage held by the Islamists had led them to Hapilon and Omar Maute.

"She was able to confirm the presence of Isnilon and Maute in that particular building," he said.

"That's the building we assaulted this morning."

A video of the Maute brothers planning the tactics of the attack was released showing Hapilon at the table during a planning meeting.

The men said they were establishing an IS caliphate in South-East Asia.

The Islamists released videos of the execution of police officers captured in the early days of the battle.

Who are the Maute?

  • The Maute are an armed Muslim group that's pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group
  • Hapilon was reportedly designated the leader of the alliance
  • The Maute has been blamed for a bomb attack that killed 15 people in southern Davao city, Duterte's hometown, last September
  • Last month, troops killed dozens of Maute militants and captured their jungle camp near Lanao del Sur's Piagapo town
  • Troops found homemade bombs, grenades, combat uniforms and passports of suspected Indonesian militants in the camp, the military said

Early attempts to clear the city by police and soldiers were repelled by Islamist fighters, and the battle soon ground down into siege, with soldiers barely capturing any ground for weeks on end.

The Maute group fighters dug in and even airstrikes and helicopter gunship assaults had little impact.

Australia P3 Orion crews have been providing aerial surveillance over Marawi since June.

Last month Defence Minister Marise Payne announced that small Australian Defence Force training teams would increase their assistance to the Philippine military.

The Philippine Armed Forces said 162 soldiers have been killed in the fighting, with more than 1,700 wounded.