Battle for Marawi: bitter siege that left a city in ruins

Battle for Marawi: bitter siege that left a city in ruinsThe death of top Islamist fighter Isnilon Hapilon is a rare celebratory moment for the Philippines military, which has been bogged down in a gruelling four-month battle to retake the southern city of Marawi. What began as a surprise takeover by militants that Manila said would be easily defeated, quickly descended into house-to-house fighting against a deceptively well-planned Islamist insurgency. The insurgents have withstood a relentless US-backed bombing campaign, raising awkward questions about the Philippines’ ability to defend itself from an increasingly assertive Islamist presence in its violence-plagued south.



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