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Philippines army struggles as city siege enters fourth week
Fighting in Marawi City in the southern Philippines entered its fourth week on Tuesday with military officials conceding that troops were struggling to loosen the grip of militants on downtown precincts despite relentless bombing.
Military spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the urban terrain was hampering the army’s progress because the rebels had hunkered down in built-up neighbourhoods, many of them with civilians they had taken as human shields.
Hundreds of other civilians were still trapped in the ruins of the town and – facing capture, starvation or bombardment from above – several have braved sniper fire to dash across a bridge to safety. Some were shot dead, a few made it alive.