Saudi Imam shot by gunman in the Philippines
A Saudi Arabian preacher was shot and wounded in a southern Philippine city on Tuesday, police told AFP, adding security forces killed the gunman.
Shaikh Aaidh Al Qarni was in hospital but did not have life threatening injuries following the shooting in Zamboanga city, local police spokeswoman Senior Inspector Helen Galvez said.
Earlier today, a major Philippine military offensive has killed 24 suspected local sympathizers of Daesh and captured their remote southern stronghold, where troops raised the national flag on Tuesday, the military said.
Six soldiers were killed and a dozen others were wounded in the weeklong campaign that involved about 2,000 military personnel in Butig town in Lanao del Sur province, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.
Army generals turned over control of the captured militant stronghold in Poktan village to the Butig town mayor after the flag-raising ceremony, which was held near where leaders of the extremist group identified as Omar and Abdullah Maute used to live, Padilla said.
Aside from 24 militant deaths, which were confirmed by the military, nine other gunmen may have been killed, Padilla said, citing intelligence and accounts from villagers.
“Our doctrine is to resolve the conflict in the shortest possible time with the full application of military resources,” Padilla said. With the backing of provincial government officials, he said the rapid military offensive helped stop “the spread of extremism.”
More than 30,000 residents of 10 villages were displaced by the fighting, he said.
Troops were clearing battle sites and pursuing fleeing militants.