The Latest: Officials say Philippine troops found 40 bodies
CLARK, Philippines (AP) — The Latest on the Philippine efforts to end the militant siege in Marawi (all times local):
Two security officials tell The Associated Press that Philippine troops have found about 40 bodies of suspected gunmen after capturing the building where pro-Islamic State group militants made their final stand in southern Marawi city.
The officials said Monday the seizure of the building and the defeat of the militants would allow the military to declare the end of the Marawi siege, which hundreds of black flag-waving gunmen launched exactly five months ago.
The two officials spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make public the latest developments in Marawi, where government forces have begun a gradual withdrawal as the fighting considerably eased in recent days.
It’s not immediately clear how the suspected gunmen died.
From Associated Press journalist Jim Gomez in Manila.
A Philippine military official says government forces are fighting the last batch of about 30 pro-Islamic State group militants who are surrounded in just one building with all their hostages gone as the nearly five-month siege nears its end in southern Marawi city.
Col. Romeo Brawner says troops are aiming to end the crisis before midnight Sunday, adding the remaining gunmen, who include some foreign militants, have the option of surrendering or they can either be captured or killed.
Brawner says a gradual withdrawal of military forces is continuing with the easing of the crisis, which has left at least 1,131 people dead, including 919 militants and 165 soldiers and policemen. He says troops continue to ask the gunmen to surrender although most are determined to die fighting.