AFP ready for any retaliatory attacks

MANILA-- With the military soon-to-conclude its operations against Maute Group remnants in Marawi City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday announced it has prepared all of its units for possible retaliatory attacks by ISIS and other terror groups.

"There are always such threats, and our answer is that we're ready to respond," said AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla in Filipino.

However, he said they are still to detect or monitor such threats from any terrorist cell or group.

"They (Maute Group and their allies) are still very much in the defensive, they are all locked there (in Marawi City) and we have not monitored any (movement that would indicate that they are planning attacks against other civilian and military targets)," Padilla disclosed.

And as the Marawi City crisis reaches its first month anniversary Friday, he admitted that totally neutralizing the remaining terrorists is complicated engagement because of the urban terrain with the enemy well aware of their positional advantage.

Padilla cited the cases of military units in the Middle East, despite their firepower and numerical superiority, of having extreme difficulty in combating ISIS terrorists when it comes to the urban setting.

"In the case (of) the Battle of Mosul (in Iraq), it is still ongoing up to now, (having) started October 2016 and it not yet finished yet (despite) been going on for eight months. In Libya (which conducted operations against) ISIS/Daesh (terrorists) the battle started May 12 and ended only last Nov. 6, so it lasted over six months, in the Battle of Ramadi where American and Iraqi militaries combined to fight the ISIS terrorists, the operation started April and ended only on November 2006 and during the Second Battle of Fallujah (where the Iraqi, American and British forces combined) against Al-Qaeda terrorists, operations lasted Nov. 7 up to Dec. 23, 2004," he added.

"So if you will compare it to this current and ongoing engagement, the terrain is very much the same, and we are doing this very carefully we have compounding complex of issues, presence of hostages, residents in their homes refusing to leave, and continued discovery of improvised explosive devices, (necessitating) the door-to-door clearing operations our soldiers must practice," Padilla pointed out.

Source: Philippines News Agency