(Note: This article includes photos that readers may find disturbing or too graphic.)
ISIS-affiliated local terrorists Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon have been killed during a military operation in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur early Monday morning, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed.
Lorenzana said that with the death of the two terror leaders, the government can already announce the end of the hostilities in Marawi City within this week. The crisis began in May 23, when the terrorists attempted to takeover the city, a move that prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.
Omar Maute is the remaining leader of the Maute group that he founded with his brothers. Meanwhile, Hapilon has emerged as the erstwhile leader of Abu Sayyaf. In recent years, both Abu Sayyaf and the Maute group have pledged allegiance to the international terrorist group Islamic State and its leader, Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The United States government has long offered a $5 million reward for the capture of Hapilon due to his involvement in high-profile kidnapping incidents in Dos Palmas, Palawan and Sipadan, Malaysia which primarily targeted American citizens and other foreign nationals.
President Duterte, for his part, announced last July a bounty of P10 million for the death or capture of Omar Maute and his brother Abdullah. The latter has been killed last August.