Policemen stand on guard while guarding a main street in Sarimanok village, in Marawi city, Philippines May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
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Philippine troops have killed 89 Islamist militants during more than a week of urban battles but a final showdown is expected to be fierce as the gunmen protect their leaders and hold hostages, authorities said Wednesday.Eighty-nine militants had been killed in the fighting and the amount of territory in the city that the remaining gunmen controlled had been cut to just 10 percent, military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said Wednesday.However Padilla warned of more intense battles ahead, with the military believing three of the militants' main leaders were likely still in the city.The militants are also holding an unknown number of civilians hostage, according to Padilla and other authorities.Padilla said Wednesday the militants had murdered 19 civilians but insisted that the military's "precision airstrikes" had not killed any of the trapped residents.Twenty-one security forces had also died, Padilla said, bringing the combined death toll to 129 .
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