Philippine Troops Declare Cease Fire

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- The Philippine military has declared an eight-hour halt to its air and ground offensive against Islamic militants aligned with the Islamic State group in southern Marawi city to allow residents, most of them displaced, to celebrate the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla says the "humanitarian pause" will take effect at 6 a.m. Sunday in Marawi but will be lifted immediately if the militants open fire or threaten troops and civilians.

Padilla said Sunday the cease-fire is a "gesture of our strong commitment and respect to the Muslim world," particularly the Muslims of Marawi.

At least 280 militants, 69 soldiers and police and 263 civilians have been killed in a month of fighting since the militants laid siege on the Islamic city.

(KA)