Philippine troops find stash of banknotes as fighters pull back

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The footage, found on a mobile phone as government forces closed in on the fighters in Marawi City, showed a group of men in a room discussing how they would take hostages from a school, seal off roads and capture a highway into the lakeside town.

Brigadier General Restituto Padilla gives updates on the Marawi crisis and martial law in Mindanao.

"Our troops clearly need to judiciously use force because of a stiffer kind of resistance from the inner enclaves of the city", Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesman BGen.

Some fear that Daesh, now being squeezed in Iraq and Syria, is trying to exploit existing conflicts to establish a foothold in the Philippines.

The dead include 120 militants, 20 civilians and 38 soldiers and policemen.

One Islamist group that has not joined forces with the ISIS affiliates, however, is the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and its affiliate, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

More than 224,000 residents of the city and nearby towns have fled the fighting, the provincial government said Monday.

A cease-fire deal is now expected as government troops and the NPA work together.

The Catholic bishops in Mindanao had earlier issued a statement supporting martial law but only as a temporary measure. "Our priority is in Marawi", Salamat told reporters after the turn-over ceremony at the Marine headquarters in Taguig City. The group has been involved in on-off peace talks since 1997.

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On Saturday, 23 Christian teachers and 15 other citizens escaped to safety from another area of Marawi, although they could not forget the horrifying scenes they had witnessed.

Shot in a style similar to videos that showed the destruction of the Mosul Museum in Iraq, the terrorists tore down all the statues within the Roman Catholic church, breaking them apart with hammers and stomping on them. "After intensive study and discussion. we reject the imposition of martial law ... as a sweeping solution to the crisis".

The MNLF broke into splinter groups, and eventually one called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) consolidated power.

Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao described the desecration of the cathedral as "inhumane and unacceptable".

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However Duterte, who took office a year ago, has sought to loosen the Philippines' ties with the United States while forging closer relations with China and Russian Federation. Many former MNLF members have already been successfully integrated into the military.

"If they want to have a united front then they must engage in a dialogue with all sectors", he told Anadolu Agency. It's unlikely that this group has real ties to ISIS, Abinales says, because, despite their ongoing push for independence, they're highly pragmatic - putting family clans and business first, over ideology.

The weapons, including machine guns capable of firing thousands of rounds a minute, were handed over at a ceremony in Manila that highlighted a decade-old American counter- terrorism assistance programme to the Philippines worth about $150 million.