Fighting resumes as ceasefire ends
Fighting between government troops and Islamic State–inspired terrorists resumed in Marawi City on Sunday as soon as an eight-hour ceasefire enforced by the military to allow residents to celebrate the end of Ramadan expired.
Civilian volunteers and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front used the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. ceasefire to rescue people trapped in the war zone.
Terrorist snipers fired at positions held by government troops during the ceasefire, but there were no major clashes.
Assistant Secretary for the Peace Process Dickson Hermoso said the rescuers risked their lives to pluck out trapped civilians.
They managed to rescue five people, including a baby girl, he said. A sixth civilian, an elderly man named Hassan Ali who suffered a stroke six weeks ago, died before he could be rescued, Hermoso said.
It was not clear why the man died.
Earlier, Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said his troops would observe a “humanitarian pause” during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Marawi.
“We declare a lull in our current operations in the city on that day as a manifestation of our high respect [for] the Islamic faith,” Año said in a statement.
The Eid al-Fitr festival marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan when observant Muslims do not eat or drink between dawn and nightfall.
Many Muslims observed the end of Ramadan on Sunday following the Eid celebrations in Turkey and other Muslim countries.
Other Muslims, however, celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Monday, June 26, a national holiday.
Malacañang said the humanitarian pause was a “sincere gesture” of respect for Filipino Muslims.
“This humanitarian ceasefire on the part of the military and the government underscores our solidarity with our Muslim brethren as they celebrate the end of Ramadan,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson for the AFP, said the “humanitarian pause was generally successful, although there was a little exchange of fire … in the morning and a few minutes past 2 p.m.”
After the ceasefire expired, the hostilities resumed, with automatic rifle and machine-gun fire and mortar blasts rocking the city.
It was the first planned respite in the massive offensive after a month of daily street battles and military air strikes that had left at least 280 terrorists, 69 soldiers and policemen, and 26 civilians dead.
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