(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A group of heavily-armed militants from a group linked to ISIS have reportedly stormed a city in the Philippines and engaged in firefights with the national army.
Residents of Marawi City, in the south of the country, were urged to remain indoors as at least 15 gunmen from a terrorist group called Maute stormed the streets brandishing assault rifles.
The group, which is also known as the ISIS of Lanao, have reportedly received support from ISIS.
Troops and a special police force were deployed to the city after residents in a nearby village raised the alarm and appealed for help.
“I’m appealing to residents of Marawi City to stay home, drop on the ground if they hear gunshots," Mamintal Adiong Jr, the governor of the Lanao del Sur province told The Philippine Star newspaper. "They have to lock their doors and gates too."
Local reports suggested that the militants had entered a local hospital and raised a black ISIS flag above the roof, although this information was officially verified by the army.
Witnesses reported seeing men in attire similar to that worn by ISIS militants walking the streets before firing at houses and government buildings.
"There [were] no indications that an attack like this will happen. There are no checkpoints in the city," one resident told Philstar. "Everything is in silence. No news about the city government. Everything is vague."