Marawi death toll breaches 600 mark

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2017 05:21 PM

Marawi death toll breaches 600 mark 1

The death toll in war-torn Marawi City has breached the 600 mark, the military said. 

"In the continuing effort of your soldiers to clear Marawi City of the terrorists, a total of 109 soldiers died from day 1 to day 63," the Armed Forces of the Philippines said in a statement Tuesday.

The total number of deaths due to the months-long battle was pegged at 607 with 453 terrorists and 45 civilians killed.

The Armed Forces said it has yet to allow residents to return to the Islamic City as clearing operations are still underway.

Ground commanders have yet to issue a green light on the return of Marawi residents as the city is still being cleared of terrorist presence, improvised exposive devices, and bodies, the military said. 

Department of Health officials were also deployed to the lakeside city to examine health hazards such as the proliferation of bacteria that may cause an epidemic if residents return prematurely, the statement read.

The siege in Marawi City began on May 23 when members of the Maute terrorist group torched buildings and fired at civilians in a bid to establish a "wilayat" or a province for the Islamic State.

President Rodrigo Duterte has since placed the entire Mindanao under a 60-day martial law, and has asked the legislative to extend the military rule until December 31, 2017.

-- Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News