At least nine government soldiers in Philippines were killed and 49 wounded following a grenade attack by ISIL-linked terrorists in Marawi city on the Southern island of Mindanao.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, told reporters that the Maute terrorists moved closer to the government troops and hurled a grenade at them, Al Waght reported.
Galvez said the Friday attack on government troops triggered an intense day-long firefight in downtown Marawi, leaving nine soldiers dead and 49 wounded. He gave no further details.
As the prolonged crisis in Marawi City entered its third month, the number of fatalities continues to rise.
Citing data sent by Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs chief Col. Edgar Arevalo, GMA news reported a total of 578 people have died in the conflict.
Of the fatalities, government troops account for 105. Only last Friday, the number of fatalities on the government side was at 99, it said.
As of July 21, a total of 428 members of the terrorist Maute group have been killed. A total of 526 firearms have been recovered by the military.
Arevalo also said the death toll of civilians has remained at 45, while the number of rescued civilians stood at 1,723.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared military rule over the entire island of Mindanao after Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists laid siege to Marawi on May 23.
A joint session of Congress on Saturday approved the extension of martial law in Mindanao until year’s-end, Dec. 31, 2017.
Meanwhile, a report released on Friday revealed that, the over two-month old battle for Marawi may have been abetted by tens of thousands of dollars of financial support from the central command of ISIL.
Central to the operation of linking local terrorists still entrenched in Marawi and the central command of the so-called ISIL in the West Asia region is Mahmud Ahmad, a high-level militant leader from Malaysia, according to areport by the Institute for Policy of Analysis of Conflict.
According to the report, the Malaysian facilitated the transfer of funds from Syria through Indonesia to the Philippines through Western Union several times between January and May this year.