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Soldiers retake some rebel-held mosques in Marawi City

Security forces battling the pro-ISIS Maute group in Marawi City have retaken some mosques the rebels had been using as their fortresses since May 23, when they attacked the city. 

Radio dzBB's Benjie Liwanag reporting from Marawi  City said Thursday morning that due to pressure from the joint military and police forces, the jihadist Maute rebels have abandoned the mosques.

Citing military sources, Liwanag said that the rebels used the mosques as their camps and military supplies posts.

Government forces have begun their cleanup of mosques, undertaking the operation with utmost care and respect for the Muslim religion, the dzBB report  quoted Colonel Romeo Brawner, commander of the joint Task Force Ranao, as saying.

Clearing operations against the Maute holdouts is being done with care as the enemy forces are still holding civilian hostages, Brawner added.

Last Wednesday, Brawner announced that government forces regained control of a strategic police station in the city. 

He said that the mission to retake the police station was not easy as it is located in the main battle area, adding that the mission was led by Task Group Musang of the Scout Rangers, the 51st infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, and the Joint Task Group composed of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police.

"We have taken over strategic locations within the main battle area. In fact 'yung mga locations po na ito ay areas [from] where we can launch further assault...," Brawner said. —LBG/KVD, GMA News