Militants force kids, hostages to fight: Philippine army

Now in its seventh week, the fighting has displaced most of Marawi's more than 200,000 residents and reduced much of the lovely, lakeside city into rubble.

The IS-backed Maute militants in Marawi, who attacked and captured parts of the city at the end of May, have carried out vast atrocities.

The military believes Abdullah Maute is still in command of the remaining Maute members, while they have yet to confirm the location of Isnilon Hapilon, the appointed "emir" or leader of ISIL in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

INCH BY INCH A soldier takes cover as government troops press on with their campaign to clear Marawi City of terrorists.

The Philippines president, Robert Duterte has declared martial law as he called on his nation's armed forces to "crush" the Islamist extremists. Although he has yet to be released, he was seen alive a few days ago.

On 10 July, the Philippine military estimated that more than 500 people have died in the almost two-month siege of Marawi.

A Lanao del Sur official has rejected the assignment of blame to the Maranao for the destruction of Marawi City in the fighting between government forces and Islamic State-inspired local terrorists.

Abella said the government would not forget the two soldiers' deeds for the country.

Herrera said it is believed that there could be more people murdered by the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Group as revealed by rescued hostages.

The bishops urged Christians and all people of goodwill to be proactive in promoting interfaith dialogue "so that our various faiths may not be exploited and abused for the sake of terrorism or violent extremism".

"These kinds of incident will occur in the battle because of the complexity of the environment, the fog of war, the lack of communication and what have you, so in this case we have no reason to say that it was the fault of the pilot yet until after we have done the investigation", he added. "Kaya gusto ko talagang pumunta doon (That's why I really want to go there)".

They then cited several biblical passages on love of God and neighbor before urging action in showing solidarity with those who have fled Marawi and those who have been taken hostage.

The military earlier said civilians had been forced to help the gunmen by carrying supplies and ammunition, bearing their wounded, and even helping them to loot the city. Also, a Catholic church and the bishop's residence have also been destroyed.