By Azania Post Reporter
PHILIPPINES government troops have retaken most important buildings along with major strongholds of Daesh –linked militants in the war torn Marawi city
The retaken properties were Bato historic Mosque and the Amaitul Islamiya Marawi Foundation as well as the Jamaitul Philippine Al-Islamiyah buildings.
Amaitul Islamiya Marawi Foundation
According to sources, the said properties were taken after a four months battles with the rival groups
Military officials expect the battle in there to end soon as most of the remaining Maute terrorists' command and controlled areas have been seized by troops.
Armed Forces' Western Mindanao Command Chief Lt. General Carlito Galvez said in a statement issued today that troops finally regained said buildings at past 5 p.m. on Saturday.
The Bato Mosque is one of the major places of worship for Muslims in Marawi that had been held by Daesh-linked militants since they laid siege to the city on May 23.
The Bato Mosque
Several hostages were reportedly last seen there, according to Galvez. "Before retaking the mosque from the Maute, a 5-hour intense gun battle ensued in the area, where four soldiers were wounded when an abandoned improvised explosive device detonated."
A Maute gunman was also killed in the offensive a day earlier, Sept. 16. Two marines were also killed this week in close quarter fighting in another area in the battle zone, said Galvez.
"The seizure of another historical mosque and key Maute strongholds is a big blow for the remaining members of Maute and Abu Sayyaf," he said.
As of this report, the military continues to press forward in the battle area to penetrate what it believes to be the final defensive stand of the militants. It has been pounding the battle area with air strikes throughout the week.
WestMinCom spokesperson Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay said the death toll among government forces has reached 149.
"About 600 soldiers were also reported injured," said Petinglay. "The Maute terrorists now force their hostages, especially the male hostages to fight with the troops."
More than 800 terrorists are also believed to have been killed since May 23, when the groups of the Maute brothers - Abdullah and Omar -- backed by Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon took over mosques, churches, some government facilities including including hospitals, schools, police stations, banks and other private buildings.
Armed Forces chief of staff General Eduardo Año told reporters in Manila that “This (retaking of Bato mosque) enormous gain further weakened the terrorist group by denying them their erstwhile strongholds."
“As follow up and clearing operations continue, we expect the enemy to yield more previously occupied positions," he added.
Año urged the remaining Maute gunmen, as well as former hostages turned fighters, to surrender "while they still have time."
Early last month, government security forces also regained control of the Grand Mosque located at the center of the battle zone in Marawi.