The death toll in the Marawi City crisis has climbed to 202 as government forces continued to advance towards "inner enclaves" controlled by the Maute terrorist group, the military spokesperson said Wednesday.
As of June 6, those killed include 134 terrorists, 38 government troops and 30 civilians, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padila, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson, told Palace reporters.
At least 1,545 civilians trapped in conflict zones have meanwhile been rescued, but there has been no word about the status of hostages, Padilla said.
Though the military has regained control of key areas in the Islamic City and has been considering the reopening of the city hospital, Padilla said the AFP could not accede to the residents' pleas to stop air strikes and offensives.
"Troops need to judiciously use force because of a stiffer kind of resistance from the inner enclaves of the city," Padilla said.
"We feel the pain, we feel the hurt of every member, of every citizen of Marawi, but let us remember we did not start this. It was the armed group that entered the city to wreak havoc on it," Padilla added.
The military on Tuesday made public a recovered video of suspected Islamic State leader Isnilon Hapilon and other terrorists plotting the carnage in Marawi City.
The military said they discovered the video in a mobile phone seized during a May 23 raid of a Marawi safehouse.
"That video actually is a clear proof that the group of Maute, ISIS, has this intention of not only rebellion but actually dismembering a portion of the Philippine territory by occupying the whole of Marawi City and establishing their own Islamic State or government," AFP chief of staff Eduardo Año said.
Año added that the terrorists originally planned to attack Marawi City on May 26 at the start of Ramadan, but had to move it to an earlier date due to the military's attempt to neutralize Hapilon.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law after clashes began on May 23. In explaining his declaration to the legislature, Duterte said the terror groups were planning to establish an Islamic State wilayat (province) in Mindanao.