By Alexis Romero
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday allayed concerns that Marawi City may become a hub of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, saying government troops were able to thwart a plan by the terrorists to establish a province in southern Philippines.
ISIS-inspired terrorists from the Maute group laid siege to Marawi City last May 23, torching several buildings including a Catholic cathedral and holding more than a dozen people hostage.
While Philippine officials claimed that the Maute group is weakening, some US lawmakers are worried that Marawi City is becoming a hub for Southeast Asian extremists and want American troops to play a bigger role in the operations.
At present, the US forces’ participation in the Marawi offensives is limited to providing technical assistance like intelligence information.
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