AFP monitoring at least 28 foreign terrorists, including 10 in Marawi

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 18) — The armed forces' Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) is monitoring the presence of 28 foreign terrorists in their area, who are well-equipped and more experienced fighting in a war,  the military said in a press briefing Monday.

They include 10 foreign terrorists inside war-torn Marawi, according to the AFP.

Armed Forces Western Mindanao Commander Carlito Galvez said the foreign terrorists, who may have come from other Asian countries up to the west, show a different fighting style.

"Nakikita namin how they fight, parang ano talaga 'to, veteran na talaga ito, maybe veteran ng Mosul. Kasi ito yung first time na nagkaroon kami ng ganitong intense fighting. Very suicidal," Galvez said.

[Translation: We saw how they fight, they're really like veterans, probably from Mosul. It's the first time we had a very intense fighting. Very suicidal.]

Mosul, a city in Iraq, has been occupied by international terror group IS for the last three years. On July 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he has arrived in the "liberated city of Mosul" and "congratulates the heroic fighters and the Iraqi people in achieving this great victory."

READ: Iraq's PM claims Mosul victory, but state TV says ISIS fighters remain

Second Lieutenant Kim Adrian Martal, who had a close encounter with a foreign-looking fighter inside the war zone, said the terrorists are also well-equipped.

"Yung body built niya unlike siya sa ordinary Pinoy. Malaki ang katawan niya tapos yung pagka-puti niya, kakaiba. Hindi kagaya sa normal Pinoy … Compared doon sa mga dating nakikita naming kalaban, talagang well-equipped talaga kung pagbabasehan ang kalaban na nakita namin that time," Martal said.

[Translation: Their body built are unlike those of ordinary Filipinos. They are huge and fair-skinned, unlike normal Filipinos. Compared to our former foes, the ones we saw are well-equipped.]

The Maute group, who clashed with the military on May 23 that prompted the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, claims to be aligned with international terror group IS.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff Eduardo Ano earlier said there are 40 foreign terrorists all over the Philippines. Ano claims half of these are Indonesians.

READ: 40 foreign terrorists in PH; more may arrive in coming months — AFP Chief