By Jim Gomez and Todd Pitman
MANILA, Philippines — It was an audacious plot sketched out in chilling detail with blue pens on the back of a paper calendar: Islamic militants in the Philippines, including one of the world's most-wanted militant leaders, would take over a key Mindanao city in their boldest attack to date.
With unsettling calm, they spoke of taking hostages from a school, sealing off roads and capturing a highway "so the people will get scared."
Video footage and a separate screen-grab image of that secret meeting, obtained exclusively by The Associated Press, offer a rare glimpse into the clandestine operations of insurgents who followed through two weeks ago with an unprecedented assault on the lakeside city of Marawi, parts of which they still occupy today.
The images also provide the first visual proof that a nascent alliance of local Muslim fighters are not only aligned with the Islamic State group, but coordinating and executing complex attacks together. Among those at the table was the purported leader of the Islamic State's Southeast Asia branch, Isnilon Hapilon, who is on Washington's list of most-wanted terrorists and has a $5 million bounty on his head.
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