As the fight between the Philippine security forces and ISIS-linked terrorists in Marawi continues, state security officials reportedly announced that two key terror leaders were eliminated in a gunfight between the sides Monday morning. One of the terror leaders was on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists.
Philippine security forces in Marawi Photo Credit: EPA
The leaders of two ISIS-affiliated groups in the southern Philippines city of Marawi were eliminated in an exchange of fire between terrorists and the country’s security forces, various news outlets reported Monday morning. The reports cited state security officials who are familiar with the battle in Marawi, which began in May.
The Associated Press cited four military and police officials who identified the leaders as Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute. 51-year-old Hapilon, who was on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists, became the leader of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group several years ago.
The FBI was offering an award of up to $5 million for any information that directly led to Hapilon’s arrest or conviction. He was wanted for a long list of crimes including hostage-taking, murder and terrorism. Last year, ISIS named Hapilon as its “emir” for the region of Southeast Asia.
Maute was the leader of the Maute group, which was founded by him and his brother Abdullah. In May, terrorists from the Maute group stormed a church in Marawi and took hostages.
When the fighting in Marawi began, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of emergency and martial law on the island of Mindanao, where the city is located. Duterte was in Russia at the time and cut his visit short in order to return home to deal with the crisis.