Baku, May 28, AZERTAC
Fighters locked in street-to-street battles with security forces in a southern Philippine city on Mindanao island have killed 19 civilians, the military said on Sunday, bringing the official death toll from nearly a week of fighting to at least 85, according to Al Jazeera.
The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law on Tuesday across the southern third of the Philippines to quell what he said was a fast-growing threat of "militants" linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.
Security forces are attempting to flush out rebels of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf armed groups, which have declared allegiance to ISIL.
Authorities said the fighters had killed 19 civilians in Marawi, a mostly Muslim-populated city of 200,000 people.
These included three women and a child who were found dead near a university.
"These are civilians, women. These terrorists are anti-people. We found their bodies while conducting rescue operations [on Saturday]," regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera told the AFP news agency.
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