- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Philippine military officials say a group of heavily armed militants backing the Islamic State group has barged into a southern city and troops are battling the gunmen.

Regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Joar Herrera said by telephone that army and police forces were battling at least 15 fighters from a Muslim rebel group called Maute on Tuesday in the village of Basak Malutlut in Marawi, a predominantly Muslim city in Lanao del Sur province.

Herrera said troops and special police personnel were deployed after villagers notified the military of the presence of the militants.

He said the military is trying to confirm information that the militants entered a hospital and raised a black Islamic State-style flag.

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