PHILIPPINE AIR STRIKES TARGET IS-LINKED MILITANTS NEAR MARAWI
Philippine military air strikes and ground assaults targeted a group of Islamic State-linked militants in an offensive that reportedly killed five extremists and forced thousands of villagers to flee to safety in the south, officials said on Monday. The offensive targeted about 40 militants led by Owayda Benito Marohombsar, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Dar. He was among those who led a five-month siege of Marawi city, not far from Tubaran, but managed to escape before troops quelled the uprising last October. The Marawi siege caused President Rodrigo Duterte to place the southern third of the largely Roman Catholic country under martial law and prompted fears that the Islamic State was gaining a foothold in the Asian region.