Harrowing images have emerged that show a group of christians lying dead face-down in the grass after nine Christians were tied their hands together and were shot dead by ISIS militants in a city in the Philippines.
Villagers in the area report that they are afraid to move the bodies because terrorists are still in the area.
The Maute group forced the civilians off their truck at a roadside checkpoint in Marawi City on Wednesday and murdered them after they were identified as Christian, local media reported.
ISIS-linked militants reportedly captured nine Christians, tied their hands together and shot them dead in a city in the Philippines. The television network GMA published this photo which claims to show them lying dead face-down in the grass
Two military helicopters flew above Marawi and armoured tanks churned through its streets as automatic rifle firing could be heard on Thursday, according to an AFP photographer in the city.
Marawi has about 200,000 residents but many of them have fled because of the fighting.
The Maute group forced the civilians off their truck at a roadside checkpoint in Marawi City on Wednesday and murdered them after they were identified as Christian, local media reported. Pictured, ISIS media shows an extremist waving the ISIS flag
In a related incident one policeman was similarly caught at a checkpoint set up by the militants and beheaded on Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte said.
It comes as 100 US-trained Special Forces descended in helicopters and armoured tanks battled to reclaim the besieged southern city from rampaging jihadis.
It comes as 100 US-trained special forces battled to retake the besieged southern city from rampaging jihadis
Five soldiers and one policemen died in the clashes, while 13 gunmen were killed, according to the military.
‘We’re confronting maybe 30 to 40 remaining from the local terrorist group,’ said Jo-Ar Herrera, a spokesman for the military’s First Infantry Regiment.
‘The military is conducting precise, surgical operations to flush them out … The situation is very fluid and movements are dynamic because we wanted to out-step and out-manoeuvre them,’ he said.
President Duterte has now impose martial law across the southern third of the Philippines as an initial rampage by the gunmen, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, through the mainly Muslim city of Marawi on Tuesday prompted.
Authorities said that ending the crisis was proving to be hard as civilians lives were at stake since militants were holed up in residential buildings, had planted improvised bombs in the streets and had taken Catholic hostages.
‘People are afraid. They do not want to open establishments. Offices are closed. We do not want people to be used as human shields,’ Marawi mayor Majul Usman Gandamra said.
It is located in Lanao del Sur province, a stronghold of the Maute, a fierce, but little-known group that has been a tricky opponent for the military.
There are only between 50 and 100 gunmen, according to various military officials.
The militants are also holding between 12 and 15 Catholic hostages abducted from a church, according to the local bishop, Edwin Dela Pena.
Mindanao native president Duterte is alarmed that although separatist unrest existed but the shocking prospect of Islamic State’s radical ideology spreading in the Philippines might become a reality.