Updated at 3:32 p.m. ET on 2017-10-17
President Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine troops celebrated the liberation of Marawi on Tuesday after nearly five months of heavy fighting with militants linked to the Islamic State left much of the city in ruins.
Following the pronouncement, explosions could be heard as the few remaining militant fighters continued their battles and a military spokesman cautioned troops against letting their guard down until all fighting had stopped.
Despite the concern, Duterte’s pronouncement “I hearby declare Marawi city liberated,” brought somber cheers from troops who have been on the front line since militants seized control of the southern city on May 23. Since fighting began, 822 militants, 164 soldiers and at least 47 civilians have been killed.