Philippine airstrike kills 11 soldiers in 'friendly fire'

The island of Mindanao in the country's south has long served as a refuge for Islamist extremists, who travel by boat from neighbouring Indonesia or Malaysia, skirting porous border controls. The first plane successfully hit the target but the second missed, causing deaths of government troops.

"We still have some precision-guided munitions".

"We still have some precision-guided munitions".

In an earlier text message to reporters, Mr Lorenzana said of the "friendly fire" incident: "Sometimes that happens".

The Defense chief said terrorists were getting funding from here and overseas. "We're merely working closely with civil organization whose objective is to save more lives", he said.

The Maute's ability to fight off a military with greater numbers and superior firepower for so long will add to fears that it could win the recognition of the ISIS leadership in the Middle East and become its South-east Asian affiliate.

Anyone arrested, however, must be charged within three days or be released.

President Duterte has been informed of the incident.

"The public might think that the army doesn't care about the current situation, but, that is wrong", said Indonesian Army (TNI) spokesman Brigadier General Alfret Denny Tuejeh, as quoted by Kompas.

"We are deeply saddened by what transpired".

Año is considering deferring the use of the Italian-made SF260, the Marchetti light trainer aircraft deployed to Marawi.

Lorenzana said the bodies of the slain soldiers have been extracted from the area and their families have been contacted.

He suggested that "the fog of war" may have played a part in the mistake.

"They wanted to show the world that there is an ISIS branch here which can inflict the kind of violence that has been seen in Syria and Iraq", said Ano.

"Recalcitrant remnants of the Maute-ISIS refuse to heed the call of government to give up their arms and continued their resistance while holed in fortified buildings and structures", the AFP's Padilla said. The Philippine army affirmed that 90 percent of the city's areas were freed from the militants.

On May 23, a firefight between the government forces and the Maute terror group ensued as troops launched an operation to neutralize terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon.

The death toll since Tuesday last week has risen to almost 100, which includes 16 civilians, 61 militants, 11 soldiers and four police officers, Fox News reported, citing The Associated Press.

Cris, a Christian worker at a gun shop in Marawi City, said his Muslim employer, Ma'am Farida, stood between her 13 male employees and 10 Maute terrorists.

Lorenzana told reporters on Thursday that among the militants that have been killed there were fighters from at least five other nationalities including Saudi, Yemeni and Chechen.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he remained confident that the military would drive all remaining militants out of Marawi by today.

  • Leroy Wright