Philippine airstrikes target IS-linked militants near Marawi

A Philippine military official says airstrikes and ground assaults have targeted a group of Islamic State group-linked militants, including their leader, who helped lead a five-month siege in southern Marawi city last year.

Army Col. Romeo Brawner says the military received reports that at least five militants were killed in Sunday's offensive but the deaths haven't been confirmed. The offensive sparked gunbattles between troops and the extremists in mountainous areas of Lanao del Sur province. Hundreds of villagers fled from nearby towns as the offensive got underway.

Brawner said Monday the offensive targeted about 40 militants led by Owayda Benito Marohombsar, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Dar. He was among those who led the attack on Marawi, but managed to escape before troops quelled the uprising in October.