Islamic State brings terror to Philippines

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Teenage Islamic State (IS) militants are bringing terror to a besieged Philippines city, reportedly executing people for being unable to quote the Koran.

Residents are fleeing or hiding in the war-torn city of Marawi, with dreadful stories of atrocities committed by the fanatics.

"We were trapped inside our family home in the first two days," Alinoor Tarip told the New York Times.

"But they didn't harm us when we told them we were Muslims. Perhaps they saw my baby when they knocked.

"They asked me to recite some verses in the Quran and left when they were satisfied."

Fighting erupted last week after a bungled raid by security forces spiralled into chaos, with gunmen seizing bridges, roads and buildings and taking Christians hostage.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte responded by declaring martial law throughout his home island of Mindanao.

However, government forces have faced strong resistance from well-armed young fighters, who include Malaysians, Indonesians and other foreigners.

At least 50,000 civilians have fled the fighting, and over 100 people have been killed.

Mr Duterte has warned of "contamination" by IS, exploiting the poverty, lawlessness and porous borders of predominantly Muslim areas of Mindanao island to establish a base for radicals from southeast Asia and beyond.

Mr Duterte said the presence of foreign fighters in street battles in Marawi City was proof that IS had gained a foothold on the restive island of Mindanao, but there was still a chance for peace.

"You can say that the ISIS is here already," Mr Duterte told soldiers in nearby Iligan City, referring to Islamic State.

"My message mainly to the terrorists on the other side is we can still solve this through dialogue. And if you cannot be convinced to stop fighting, so be it. Let's just fight."