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In Lanao Sur, a military airstrike hits the hideout of DI militants.

ZAMBOANGA CITY – After reports of a massing of extremists in the area, military officials said their soldiers are pursuing members of the Dawlah Islamiya – Maute Group (DI-MG) in the outskirts of Maguing, Lanao del Sur.

Combat aircraft bombed a hideout of the Islamic State-inspired DI-MG terrorists led by Abu Zacharia in Barangay Ilalag of Maguing town at approximately 2 a.m. on Tuesday, prompting the pursuit.

The combat aircraft dropped a dozen bombs, sending the terrorists fleeing in separate directions while state ground forces pursued them, according to Maj. Andrew Linao, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) communications officer.

“After it was determined that Abu Zacharia’s organization were massing forces in Barangay Ilalag,” Linao stated, “the offensive was begun.”

In a statement, the 103rd Infantry Brigade (103IBde), led by Brig. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, stated the joint military-police law enforcement operation was against the DI-MG in Maguing’s hinterlands.

“Once on the target site, close air support was provided to protect troops from enemy anti-personnel mines.” “Troops are still in the region engaged in running gunfights with terrorists,” the 103IBde said in a statement on its Facebook page on Tuesday.

It assured locals who were alarmed by the close air support early this morning that the operation was necessary to keep the municipality and the rest of Lanao del Sur safe and free from the threat of terrorism.

Two DI-MG members were killed in a gun duel in Barangay Ilalag, Maguing, at around 7:50 a.m. on Tuesday, according to Capt. Mary Jephte Maebog, 1st Infantry Division information officer.

According to the 103IBde report, one soldier was killed and another was wounded.

She said the gunfight started when advancing ground soldiers in Barangay Ilalag met up with roughly 40 fleeing DI-MG terrorists.

Meanwhile, Linao assuaged residents of Barangay Ilalag’s fears by stating that the offensive has a specific target.

“There is a specific target that is located outside of the community,” he explained.

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