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The New Arab

Philippines military win back town from IS after brief standoff

The Philippines is the site of fierce clashes between troops and IS [AFP]

Date of publication: 5 July, 2018

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The Philippines army has won back a town in the south of the country, after IS militants briefly captured the area.
Philippines troops won back a town from the Islamic State group on Wednesday, after hours' long battles with the militants in the south of the country.

The Philippines army finally won back the town of Datu Paglas, which was held by IS for 12 hours, after a surprise assault by the militants, according to Reuters.

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier stated that Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) - who are linked to IS - were planning attacks on several towns and cities in the south, after their defeat in the city of Marawi following a five-month siege by the military.

Their aim is to establish their own hard-line Islamist state in the south.
 
Troops, backed by armoured vehicles, managed to drive fighters out of Datu Paglas and chased them into a hills, close to the marshland where IS have established a base.

Lieutenant-Colonel Harold Cabunoc, an army battalion commander said the military would "continue to disrupt the BIFF's plan to sow terror in communities".

Residents of Datu Paglas were still in shelters outside the town as soldiers clear the area of booby traps.

The Datu Paglas attack was believed to be a test for possible future offensives in the area.

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