Duterte: You Don’t Battle ISIS With Men, You Crush Them With Bombs


The president of the Philippines is considering “carpet bombing” a city overrun by Muslim militants with ties to the Islamic State, according to local media.

Marawi fell to Islamic militants flying the ISIS standard in late May, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have been fighting to dislodge them. The military has been conducting ground raids and airstrikes, but progress has been slow.

The militants have killed hundreds of militants, but hundreds more still occupy the besieged town. The jihadis are well supplied with weapons and ammunition, they have tunnels running under the city, and regularly use hostages as human shields.

The brutal urban combat situation in Marawi has killed more than 60 soldiers.

“You don’t invade it with men,” said President Rodrigo Duterte to reporters Tuesday. “You really crush it with bombs.” The president asserts that the ongoing conflict in Marawi is a fight against ISIS, which he and others suspect may be trying to establish a foothold in the Philippines for operations throughout Southeast Asia.

“I will not put the soldiers at high risk. If I have to bomb … If I have to flatten the place, I will do it,” he added, noting that he will take responsibility for any and all fallout.

“I will order the bombing … carpet already, carpet. I will really destroy everything,” Duterte told reporters. “I will really do that because I have a bigger responsibility and that is to the Republic of the Philippines.”

Duterte previously ordered troops to “crush” the terrorists. “When I say ‘crush’ them, you have to destroy everything, including lives,” he told them. The president explained that ISIS strives to bring death and destruction. “I will destroy also and kill, period. Let us finish what you (ISIS) started you sons of bitches. Let’s finish this,” he said.

The battle for Marawi began in late May when Maute fighters, together with members of Abu Sayyaf, stormed the city. Both groups have pledged allegiance to ISIS. As the fighting continued, Filipino troops discovered foreign fighters among the militants, suggesting that Marawi was part of a larger operation.

The militants have torched schools and churches and slaughtered residents, often targeting Christians. Most of the residents of the town of roughly 200,000 people have fled.

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