First on CNN Philippines: How were Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute killed?

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Omar Maute (left) and Isnilon Hapilon were killed in Marawi on October 16.

Marawi City (CNN Philippines, October 18) — The death of rebel leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute on Monday was a huge step toward the liberation of the war-torn city of Marawi.

With the twin deaths delivering a huge blow to the terror group, CNN Philippines spoke with the gunner alias Black Hornet and the platoon leader alias Icarus, who could have shot the two terrorist leaders dead.

Both men from the armor unit of Joint Task Force Marawi were part of the mission to neutralize Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute. For security reasons, we will not reveal their real names.

Aboard a specialized armored vehicle called Remote Controlled Weapon Station, they saw movements of around 20 people from a building going to Lake Lanao dawn of Monday.

With the initial information that Hapilon and Maute were wounded, they scanned the area using thermal cameras, which detect movement through body heat.

"Yung dala namin na vehicle sir, may thermal. Kita ka kahit madilim, kahit umuulan," Black Hornet said.

[Translation: The vehicle we brought had thermal. We can see even during rain.]

They saw a man acting suspiciously in the building.

Later on, the man walked alongside two children - one was around 14 years old and the other was around five years old.

"Dumating yung time na umabante ang mga bata, akay-akay. Siyempre, mahina ang lakad niya sir. So naiwan siya. Putukan mo, putukan mo!" said Icarus.

[Translation: There was a time when the children moved. Of course, he was walking slowly. So he left the children. I told him to fire at him, fire!]

"May info samin na si Omar at Isnilon sugatan at kitang-kita namin sa mismong monitor kung sugatan ka o hindi," Black Hornet said.

[Translation: We received info that Omar and Isnilon were wounded, and we could clearly monitor if he was wounded or not.]

They noticed the man was limping and armed, so at the opportunity, Icarus ordered Black Hornet to shoot the man.

"Si Isnilon, pasilip-silip. Na kasama yung babae at batang maliit. Sabi ng officer na nagdala sa amin, yang kasama ng babae wag mong alisan ng sight. Tutukan mo yan. Eyes on ka diyan. Kasi papilay-pilay naman sir," Black Hornet said.

[Translation: Isnilon was peeking along with the girl and small child. Our commanding officer told us not to lose sight of the girl. Track and keep eyes on her, because Isnilon was limping.]

"'Pag sinabi na klaro na talaga na ang babae di tamaan sa target ko sir, pinitikan ko na, kung saan si Isnilon nakuha," he added.

[Translation: When he said it's all clear and the girl will not be hit, I fired the gun, where Isnilon was shot.]

They later found out this was Isnilon Hapilon.

"Para sa akin, yun na ang pinaka the best decision ko that time. Saka fail man yan o success ang decision na yan, ako pa rin ang haharap nun. Ako pa rin ang mananagot non," said Icarus.

[Translation: For me, that was the best decision that time. If ever the decision was a failure or success, I will carry the burden. I will answer for it.]

After Isnilon Hapilon was shot dead, Icarus asked the children to run towards the armored vehicle.

He guided them through his flash light.

Icarus recalls the children were crying and looked scared when they reached the armored vehicle.

"Uhaw na uhaw sila at mukhang tuliro," said Icarus.

[Translation: They were very thirsy. They looked confused.]

They also hit a man firing at them as he crawled behind rubbles, who they believed was Omar Maute.