Troops kill 4 pro-IS militants after Christmas Day attack

Reuters

Posted at Dec 26 2017 08:32 PM

Four pro-Islamic State militants were killed in airstrikes by government troops in Maguindanao, where the rebel group launched a Christmas Day attack, a military spokesman said on Tuesday.

Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked Datu Unsay town on Monday, burning two houses and prompting residents to flee, said Captain Arvin Encinas, spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division.

The latest military operation follows last month's shelling of BIFF gunmen in support of ground attacks in an area of marshland between the provinces of Maguindanao and Cotabato, about 170 km from Marawi City.

The shellings took place as the military pushes on with a new offensive after the country's biggest urban battle in decades in Marawi, which was occupied for several months by Islamic State loyalists including BIFF fighters.

The militants' occupation of Marawi and their dogged resistance spread alarm in the region about the rise of extremism and radical aspirations to create an Islamic State caliphate.

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Nick Macfie)