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PHILIPPINES LAUNCHES AIR STRIKES IN BID TO RETAKE ISIS-OCCUPIED CITY

The Philippines military has unleashed a series of air strikes in a push to regain full control of a largely Muslim city that was overrun last week by ISIS-affiliated fighters.
More than a hundred residents of Marawi, on the southern island of Mindanao, have died and 700,000 has fled the town of 200,000 since fighters from the Maute Islamist militant group entered the city and clashed with military and police.
"Precision airstrikes are (being) judiciously used to prevent collateral damage and employed at specific targets of resistance to protect our troops and hasten clearing of the city of terrorist elements who continue to resist," military spokesman.
The siege on Marawi unfolded as Muslims worldwide began to mark the holy month of Ramadan. Mindanao has a significant Muslim population, though the Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country.
The Maute militants set fire to churches and other buildings as they entered the city, flying the flag of the so-called Islamic State to which they pledged allegiance last year.
Sporadic gunfire erupted throughout the day as helicopters flew over the city, a witness told Journalist.
Families last week packed belongings into cars and sat in long lines of traffic as they sought to escape the ISIS-backed fighters, residents told reporter at the time



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