Philippine troops declare 8-hour cease-fire in besieged city

The Philippine military on Saturday declared an eight-hour halt to its air and ground offensive against Islamic militants aligned with the Islamic State group in southern Marawi city to allow residents, most of them displaced by the fighting, to celebrate the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the “humanitarian pause” in military assaults will take effect at 6 a.m. Sunday in predominantly Muslim Marawi but will be lifted immediately if the militants open fire or threaten troops and civilians.

“If the enemy starts firing … anyone can exercise their right to self-defense,” Padilla said in a statement.

It’s the first planned respite in the massive offensive after a month of daily street to street battles and military airstrikes…

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