Thousands flee homes in Philippines as troops fight militants

June 20 (UPI) — More than 11,000 people in the Philippines were forced from their homes because of fighting between the military and terror-groups linked to Islamic State, authorities said Wednesday.

The fighting began after military airstrikes over the weekend that pummeled the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in two towns, and targeted a bomb-making factory south of the marshland.

Thousands have evacuated to temporary housing centers in Pagalungan while the fighting continues, officials said.

Officials said Wednesday more than 2,200 families have been displaced in seven towns south of Marawi, a city held by militant forces for five months last year.

At least five militant fighters have been killed in the fighting.

The airstrike was aimed at Abu Dar, the Islamic State’s new leader in Southeast Asia who rose to prominence during the siege of Marawi last year.

No government or civilian casualties have been reported.