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Freed Filipino priest says airstrikes routed Islamic State extremists

File photo: Rev. Teresito Soganub AFP

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Filipino Roman Catholic priest who was held by Islamic State group-linked militants last year says airstrikes gave the military the crucial edge in crushing a siege by the extremists.

The Rev. Teresito Soganub said Friday that his captors forced him and other hostages to gather explosive powder, which the militants turned into improvised bombs during his harrowing 116-day captivity in southern Marawi city. He says he constantly feared being killed in “the next hour or next minute” amid a barrage of airstrikes and artillery fire.

Troops rescued Soganub in September before ending the siege, which left more than 1,100 combatants and civilians dead.

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