The Latest: Philippines says 500 militants involved in siege
MARAWI, Philippines (AP) — The Latest on the Philippine assault against militants who laid siege to a southern city (all times local):
The Philippines’ defense chief says 500 extremists fought in the southern city of Marawi and they had a ‘big plan’ to occupy the city.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday the fighters from various militant groups that gathered in Marawi had a big plan to take over the city. More than a week of fighting has left 95 militants dead. At least 25 soldiers and 19 civilians have also died.
Lorenzana said eight of the fighters killed were foreigners, including Chechen and Arab militants.
He estimated that about 50 to 100 of the militants remained holed up in the city. He says authorities are verifying reports that some have left in small groups for towns around Marawi.