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Militants Take Priest, Others Hostage in Philippines

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Militants in the Philippines have taken a local Catholic priest and others hostage after forcing their way into a cathedral in the southern city of Marawi.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said the hostages included 10 worshippers and three church employees, and that the militants were demanding the government withdraw its forces from the area.

Violence in Marawi began Tuesday when security forces raided the hideout of Abu Sayyaf commander Isnilon Hapilon, who has proclaimed allegiance to Islamic State.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law for 60 days in the southern province of Mindanao, which includes Marawi.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said dozens of gunmen had occupied city hall in Marawi and burned a church and houses in an assault that killed at least two soldiers and a police officer.

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Muslim Global: Militants Take Priest, Others Hostage in Philippines
Militants Take Priest, Others Hostage in Philippines
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