An air strike on Islamist rebel holed up in a southern Philippine city has killed 11 government troops, the armed forces said on Thursday, in a major blow to the country’s bid to end its biggest internal security crisis in years.
The bombing accident happened on Wednesday when one of two planes bombing rebel positions missed its target in the heart of Marawi City, where ground troops have been battling pro-Islamic State militants holed-up in buildings for nine days.
The incident came during what was the first offensive deployment of fixed-wing aircraft in the nine-day operation, aimed at flushing out the Islamist gunmen who have defied expectations by clinging on through days of ground assaults and helicopter rocket attacks.
“Sometimes in the fog of war a lot of things could happen. Accidents happen, like this,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told a news conference.
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