3 soldiers killed, 52 troops wounded in Marawi on eve of Eid'l Adha – military

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FILE PHOTO

Updated with information from AFP Spokesperson Restituto Padilla

Marawi City (CNN Philippines, September 1) — Three soldiers were killed and 52 others were wounded during a clash with the Maute group on the eve of Eid'l Adha in Marawi, authorities said on Friday.

Five Maute fighters were also killed for the battle of the Banggolo bridge (Bayabao bridge).

Related: Military retakes strategic Banggolo bridge in Marawi

The Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) said most of the government troops died on Thursday due to the explosions caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) left by the Maute members in areas of Marawi.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brigader General Restituto Padilla said soldiers are having a hard time clearing out buildings as the structures are laden with IEDs.

'Habang umaatras ang kalaban, dahil sila ay ganap na nanatili ng matagal sa lugar, marami silang nailatag na mga patibong or traps. These are the IEDs lying around in every corner and every room of these buildings na iniiwan nila. 'Yun ang pinagiingatan natin kaya naging mabagal ang paggalaw," he told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: As the enemies retreat, because they stayed there for a long time, they have laid out traps. These are the IEDs lying in corners and rooms of the buildings they vacate. That's what we're being careful of, which is why it's taking longer for us to move.]

Most of the wounded soldiers suffered minor injuries, while those who suffered more severe wounds were evacuated, Padilla said.

Intensified fighting during 'final push'

The fighting in Marawi is on its 102nd day. Padilla said fighting between the soldiers and some 40 Maute fighters holed up in a half-a-square kilometer inside the ruined city is expected to intensify as the siege nears its end.

"Ngayon na tayo ay nagkakaroon na ng final push, inaasahan natin na mas mas maigting pa nilang ilalatag itong mga ganitong klase ng mga patibong," he said.

[Translation: Now that we are at our final push, we expect there will be more traps.]

He added, "Ineexpect natin na mas magiging maigting ang kanilang depensa at mas magiging matindi ang labanan," he said.

[Translation: We expect the enemy's defense to strengthen and the fighting to intensify.]

Padilla refused to put a date as to when the siege will end as there are daily developments that need to be considered, such as saving the remaining 20 to 30 hostages. He said this is also the reason why the government troops cannot launch a "frontal attack" in certain areas.

Authorities report 136 soldiers have been killed in the Marawi crisis, while 620 enemies were killed since the fighting between government troops and local terror group Maute began in May 23.

CNN Philippines' Lara Tan contributed to this report.