MANILA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- The spokesman of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday that the offensive to retake the rest of the southern city of Marawi is expected to "remain intense and focused" in the coming days.
The government security forces have stepped up efforts to capture the last villages held by Islamist extremists, said the spokesman.
In a statement, spokesman Ernesto Abella lauded the efforts of the military to "safely return a key area in Marawi City under the government's control," referring to the Bayabao bridge in Banggolo that was recaptured this week by government forces.
He said the bridge is a major battle area between government troops and the militants. Military authorities said three soldiers were killed and 52 others wounded on Thursday when troops recaptured the bridge.
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