(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
MARAWI, Philippines - The Philippine military urged Islamist militants occupying a southern city to turn themselves in on Tuesday, the eighth day of a push by security forces using armored vehicles and firing rockets from helicopters to eliminate the gunmen.
The government says it is close to retaking Marawi from the Islamic State-linked Maute group, which seized parts of the city after a failed attempt by security forces to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the militants' so-called emir of Southeast Asia.
"We call on the remaining terrorists to surrender while there is an opportunity," a military spokesman, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, told reporters.
As helicopters circled the lakeside city where smoke billowed out of some buildings, troops cleared rebel positions amid explosions and automatic gunfire, moving house by house and street by street.
More than 100 people have been killed, most of them militants, according to the military, and most of the city's residents have fled.