The Philippine government claims that the clashes began when they launched an offensive in the city to capture Isnilon Hapilon of the Abu Sayyaf group, after receiving reports that Hapilon was in the city, possibly to meet with militants of the Maute group. A deadly firefight erupted when Hapilon's forces opened fire at the combined Army and police teams and called for reinforcements from the Maute, an armed group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and who are believed to be responsible for the 2016 Davao City bombing, according to military spokesmen.
Maute Group militants attacked
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stated that the fighting in Marawi was due to an operation conducted by the military in coordination with the Philippine National Police, contrary to earlier reports that the clash was initiated by the militant groups. Government security forces received reports that a group of Abu Sayyaf fighters led by Isnilon Hapilon were in Marawi to possibly meet with their Maute group counterparts. The US Department of Justice has listed Hapilon as among the world's most wanted terrorists with a reward of up to US$5 million for his capture.
Residents of Marawi reported the presence of an armed group within their locale and after the AFP verified the information, the military launched a "surgical operation."
Philippine Government Response
Following the clash, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in
Vice President Leni Robredo called for unity as government troops continue to engage in a firefight against a local terrorist group in Marawi.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to the victims of the Marawi attacks as President Duterte cut short his state visit in
The British government warned its nationals to avoid traveling to western