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Marawi bishop 'happy' over rescue of abducted priest
17 September 2017, 05:35 | Opal Carroll
Smoke rises from buildings amid fighting in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines
Two civilians were rescued Sunday from the war zone in Marawi, some 4 months after they were taken by Islamic State-linked terrorists who laid siege to parts of the southern city.
Fighting between state troops and Islamic State-linked terrorists has been raging for almost four months in Marawi, leaving at least 845 dead, majority terrorists, and hundreds of thousands displaced. "Before retaking the mosque from the Maute, a 5-hour intense gun battle ensued in the area, where four soldiers were wounded when an abandoned improvised explosive device detonated".
"The seizure of another historical mosque and key Maute strongholds is a big blow for the remaining members of Maute and Abu Sayyaf", he said.
"About 600 soldiers were also reported injured", said Petinglay.
"This enormous (military) gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile command and control hub", military chief General Eduardo Ano said in a statement.
This developed as Colonel Romeo Brawner, the deputy head of Joint Task Force Marawi, disclosed that some Maute terrorists have responded favourably to the military's appeal that they surrender.
"As follow-up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions, but not without a fight", he said.
Early last month, government security forces also regained control of the Grand Mosque located at the center of the battle zone in Marawi.
Brawner said they had hoped to rescue numerous civilian hostages when they captured the mosque but they found no one.
The military on Sunday said it is still verifying reports that Catholic priest Father Teresito "Chito" Suganob, the vicar general of Marawi and another have been successfully rescued by government troops in the main battle area (MBA) inside Marawi City.
There was no information on the fate of other hostages that Suganob said could reach more than 200, including six other teachers from Dansalan College, when he appealed to Duterte on a video released by IS in May as proof of life.
But Arevalo confirmed the rescue resulted from the military's successful operation to retake the Masjid Bato Ali Mosque and adjoining buildings used by the terrorists for their "final stand" in the siege that prompted President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte to declare martial law over the whole of troubled Mindanao.
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He also would not state how long and how much of the building was without power, saying it was part of the criminal investigation. Statewide, 64 nursing homes were still waiting for full power Thursday, according to the Florida Health Care Association.
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Incidentally, former Vice President Al Gore's new movie about global-warming danger, "An Inconvenient Sequel", will play at 7 p.m. In recent years, the state has relaxed some regulations on seawalls and other structures to control rising sea levels .