On July 4, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) repelled an attack of the ISIS-affiliated Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on the center of the town of Datu Paglas in the southern province of Maguindanao, according to the Philippines news outlet Rappler.
Lieutenant Colonel Harold M Cabunoc, commanding officer of the 33rd Infantry Battalion of the AFP, said that the army secured the town after nine hours of clashes, during which three soldiers of the AFP were “slightly wounded” due to shrapnel and bullets.
“Combined Army and police forces had blocked the attempt of ISIS-inspired terrorist group in occupying the seat of the municipal government here on Tuesday,” Liet. Col. Cabunoc said, according to Rappler.
Meanwhile, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq reported that ISIS fighters conducted a hit and run attack on a base of the AFP’s 40th Infantry Battalion in Maguindanao. The terrorist group claimed that its fighters killed 20 soldiers of the AFP and captured several weapons during the attack.
Following several terrorist attacks, the AFP launched a large scale security operation to eliminate the BIFF and other ISIS-affiliated groups in Maguindanao on July 1. The AFP is reportedly using armored vehicles, mortars and attack helicopters in the operation, which can take anywhere from weeks to months.