Hapilon, Maute deaths may turn terrorists 'more violent'

Government troops fight against Maute rebels in Philippines

Government troops fight against Maute rebels in Philippines

Hapilon and Maute were killed in military operations on Monday.

Lorenzana noted that through the testimony of a hostage "who escaped" Saturday, they were able to confirm the presence of Hapilon, touted as the Emir of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia, and Maute in one of the buildings.

"We have received a report from [Armed Forces of the Philippines] ground commanders in Marawi that the operation conducted by government forces to retake the last remaining Daesh-Maute stronghold in the city has resulted in the death of the last terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, and that their bodies have been recovered by our operating units", said Lorenzana. That's the building that we assaulted this morning.

He said the fighting occurred after President Duterte announced the liberation of the city.

"Second, on the negative side, it can spur them to be more violent, be more extremist in their ways", he added. "Terrorism will take a new form in the post-Marawi period because these terrorist groups linked to ISIS continue to innovate and their actions are evolving", Rommel Banlaoi, chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, told AFP.

Eight other foreign terrorists - mostly Indonesians and Malaysians - are believed to be still holed up in Marawi, authorities said.

The Marawi battle, which broke out on May 23, has so far left more than 800 militants, 162 government forces and 47 civilians dead, according to authorities.

"We congratulate our partners in the Armed Forces of the Philippines for their reported success in killing two of the leaders behind the months-long clash in Marawi: Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute", US embassy spokesperson Molly Koscina said in a statement.

"No, we are not talking about lifting martial law yet, tingnan pa natin, we are only looking in the immediate aftermath of the killing of these two leaders, we may, sabi ko nga we may be lifting, I mean announcing the cessation of hostilities within this week and then after that we will find out", Lorenzana told reporters during the press conference.

"We will find out from developments in coming days. IS-linked militants there will regroup. and lay low for a while, while rebuilding their strength", he said, adding that Mahmud Ahmad may lead the ISIS-affiliated militants in Mindanao and stay in contact with the jihadists in the Middle East.

Maute was the leader of the Maute group, which was founded by him and his brother Abdullah.

Soldiers distribute pictures of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who has a USA government bounty of $5 million for his capture, in Butig, Lanao del Sur in southern Philippines February 1, 2017.

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