Philippines: Scenes from the War Zone

Froilan Gallardo and Jeoffrey Maitem
2017.08.30
Marawi
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Marines escorted by a V300 infantry fighting vehicle cross Mapandi bridge, a key installation in the fight for Marawi, 100 days after IS-inspired gunmen seized the city, Aug. 30, 2017. (Froilan Gallardo/BenarNews)

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Houses near Mapandi bridge are heavily damaged after 100 days of intense fighting between government troops and IS-linked gunmen in Marawi City, Aug. 30, 2017. (Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews)

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Marines walk in a column in Marawi as Philippine troops launch a final push to retake the war-ravaged city from IS-inspired gunmen, Aug. 30, 2017. (Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews)

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Only the walls remain standing on these buildings in Marawi City, Aug. 30, 2017. (Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews)

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Damaged buildings and mangled vehicles line a street in Marawi, 100 days after IS-linked militants from Abu Sayyaf and the Maute group seized the city, Aug. 30, 2017. (Froilan Gallardo/BenarNews)

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Troops in full combat gear walk through neighborhoods in Marawi, on the 100th day of fighting to recapture the city from IS-linked gunmen, Aug. 30, 2017. [Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews]

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Soldiers line a road alongside destroyed buildings in Marawi, Aug. 30, 2017. (Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews)

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Troops gather outside a makeshift aid station and heavily damaged buildings in Marawi, Aug. 30, 2017. (Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews) BenarNews

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Soldiers stand outside a building, blocks away from heavy fighting as security forces launch a final push to dislodge militants from Marawi, Aug. 30, 2017. (Froilan Gallardo/BenarNews)

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Soldiers march next to a painted tank in Marawi city, after security forces entered a heavily damaged militant stronghold, 100 days after fighting broke out, Aug. 30, 2017. (Froilan Gallardo/BenarNews)

One hundred days after militants linked to the Islamic State seized the southern Philippine city of Marawi, troops and tanks crossed a strategic bridge Wednesday into neighborhoods long held by gunmen, as heavy fighting continued blocks away.

Journalists accompanying the soldiers captured new images of the damage to the once-vibrant Muslim city of 200,000 people on Mindanao Island.

“We cannot say how many days we can finish the fight, but as far as we are concerned, we are only about 500 meters to the lake from this point,” Gen. Milquiades Ordiales, commander of the 1st Marine Brigade, told reporters who were allowed to cross the bridge for the first time since fighting erupted.

“We took about two months to reach this bridge.  Upon reaching the area, it took us one week to cross this street, and we have so many casualties,” he said.

In Manila, military chief Gen. Eduardo Ano said soldiers had encircled the terrorists.

“Our main goal is no way in and no way out for them,” Ano said.

Since the start of the fighting, 617 enemy fighters and 133 soldiers have died along with 45 civilians, according to the government.

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