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Philippines: It Learned of City Siege Plans in Advance

Philippine troopers go around town as fighting continues in Marawi city, southern Philippines, June 9, 2017.

Philippine officials say the government learned in advance of plans for a siege by Islamic State group-aligned militants in a southern city, and staged an army raid that prevented a bigger and deadlier attack.

Solicitor General Jose Calida said in a report that the government received intelligence information at least five days before the militants prematurely launched their bloody siege on Marawi city on May 23 after government forces raided the hideout of militant leaders led by Isnilon Hapilon.

Presidential spokesman Ernie Abella said Tuesday the army raid stopped "something that could have been much, much bigger."

Army Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez said the militants have been isolated in four of Marawi's 96 villages, and dozens of militant snipers have been killed in the three weeks since the siege began.