Philippines kills four pro-Islamic State militants

  • 27/12/2017
A resident manoeuvres his boat in the calm waters of Laguna de bay in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, Philippines December 15, 2015, amid heavy current and winds brought by Typhoon Melor in some parts of the country. Wide areas of the central Philippines were plunged into darkness on Tuesday as powerful typhoon Melor barreled into the coconut-growing region, causing flooding, storm surges and forcing almost 800,000 people to evacuate their homes, officials said REUTERS/Erik De Castro - RTX1YPSY
Photo credit: Reuters

Four pro-Islamic State militants have been killed in airstrikes by Philippine troops in a southern province where the rebel group launched a Christmas Day attack, a military spokesman says.

Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao on Monday, burning two houses and prompting residents to flee, said Captain Arvin Encinas, spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division.

The latest military operation follows last month's shelling of BIFF gunmen in support of ground attacks in an area of marshland between the provinces of Maguindanao and Cotabato, about 170 km from Marawi City.

The shellings took place as the military pushes on with a new offensive after the country's biggest urban battle in decades in Marawi, which was occupied for several months by Islamic State loyalists including BIFF fighters.

The militants' occupation of Marawi and their dogged resistance spread alarm in the region about the rise of extremism and radical aspirations to create an Islamic State caliphate.