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The Latest: Philippines says 500 militants involved in siege

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/06/2017
Tanks arrive at a military camp in Iligan city to reinforce Government troops who are battling Muslim militants who laid siege in Marawi city for over a week now Wednesday, May 31, 2017 in southern Philippines. Fighting continues for the second week now between Government troops and Muslim militants with casualties on both side and civilians.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) © The Associated Press Tanks arrive at a military camp in Iligan city to reinforce Government troops who are battling Muslim militants who laid siege in Marawi city for over a week now Wednesday, May 31, 2017 in southern Philippines. Fighting continues for the second week now between Government troops and Muslim militants with casualties on both side and civilians.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MARAWI, Philippines — The Latest on the Philippine assault against militants who laid siege to a southern city (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

The Philippines' defense chief says 500 extremists fought in the southern city of Marawi and they had a 'big plan' to occupy the city.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday the fighters from various militant groups that gathered in Marawi had a big plan to take over the city. More than a week of fighting has left 95 militants dead. At least 25 soldiers and 19 civilians have also died.

Lorenzana said eight of the fighters killed were foreigners, including Chechen and Arab militants.

He estimated that about 50 to 100 of the militants remained holed up in the city. He says authorities are verifying reports that some have left in small groups for towns around Marawi.

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