Philippine airstrike kills 11 soldiers in 'friendly fire'
02:13, Jun 2, 2017
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At least 11 soldiers have been killed after Philippines Air Force plane bombed in a southern city targeting at Muslim militants who are holding hostages as human shields, the authorities said on Thursday.
But in a televised press conference also yesterday, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brigadier-General Restituto F. Padilla, Jr. said 11 soldiers, not 10, were killed by the botched airstrike "based on the last report".
"The coordination was not properly done so we hit our own people", he added, calling the soldiers' deaths a result of "the fog of war". "It hit our troops ... there must be some mistake there", said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
MARAWI, Philippines- Inside this lakeside city dotted with hundreds of mosques, a powerful militant designated by the Islamic State group as its leader in the Philippines has managed to unify a disparate group of gunmen under a single command.
The discovery of foreign jihadis among the ranks of the militants in Marawi supports assertions that there is more to this fight than meets the eye and that ISIS may be trying to establish a foothold in Southeast Asia.
However Padilla warned of more intense battles ahead, with the military believing three of the militants' main leaders were likely still in the city.
According to CNN Philippines, on Wednesday two jets were conducting strikes against members of the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, when one struck members of the 55th Infantry Battalion. At least 25 soldiers and 19 civilians have also died.
The minister raised the possibility of limiting airstrikes if government troops converge within cities controlled by militants. Fighters loyal to him surprised government forces with their firepower, fending off air strikes and house-to-house searches.
While Maute and Abu Sayyaf are indigenous jihadist groups, Duterte announced Thursday that evidence suggests that the Marawi siege is a "purely ISIS" attack led by foreign fighters.
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