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Larger Maute plot foiled, says military

The Islamic State-linked Maute group originally had a larger plan to “wreak havoc and spread terror” in Marawi City but government forces have prevented such plot, a military spokesman said yesterday.

Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the military would continue their operations, including air strikes, to flush out the extremists and “liberate Marawi at the soonest time possible.”

“We have been saying all along that there was a bigger plan. There was indeed a bigger plan and it was sought – it was supposed to wreak more havoc,” Padilla said during the Mindanao Hour briefing in Malacañang, citing the materials and documents recovered from the area.

“So thank God we have been able to prevent that from happening on a bigger scale and we really are working to liberate Marawi quicker as the days go on,” he said.

“We do not want this to drag on and we would like to bring back Marawi to its previous state as a peaceful, – it’s an economic center and a people – where people converge,” Padilla said.

A video footage recently acquired by the Associated Press has shown the militants planning the attack on Marawi.

Reportedly included in the video was Isnilon Hapilon, the purported leader of the Islamic State-linked extremist group.

Padilla said the world of the enemies is “getting smaller and smaller by the day” given the intensified military operations against them. But he admitted the military faces “stiffer resistance” because the extremists are defending their stronghold.

“The eventual outcome would be very clear if they continue to resist like that, but we are trying our best, we are doing our best, we are laying down the lives of our warriors and our heroes, just to be able to expedite the liberation of Marawi as quickly as we can,” he said.

Padilla also said the military air strikes will continue despite the appeal from the community to cease the bombing runs.

“We appeal to the people of Marawi, to those who have continuously given their word and their request for us to stop it. I have to pass this along because our troops clearly need to judiciously use force because of a stiffer kind of resistance from the inner enclaves of the city,” he said.

He said the military “feels the pain and hurt” of the Marawi residents but reminded them the rebellion was initiated by the Maute group. (Genalyn Kabiling)

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