MANILA, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has unilaterally declared an 8-hour truce in the besieged southern Philippine city of Marawi starting at 6 a.m.local time on Sunday, a military spokesman announced.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a text message to reporters that the military has decided to declare a stop of military offensives against the Islamist militants with links to Islamic State (IS) holed up in some parts of the city.
"To give reverence to the supposed peaceful, joyous and festive spiritual celebration, the AFP upon the approval of the AFP Chief of Staff intends to declare a stop in our current operations in the city on that day to serve as a gesture of our strong commitment and respect to the Muslim world particularly to the local Muslims of Marawi City," Padilla said.
He said the so-called "humanitarian pause" in the military's offensive operations "will only cover a halt in our employment of our capabilities."
The truce ends at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Padilla said.
The Muslim world will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr, an important religious holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
Fighting broke out in the city on May 23 when militants occupied many facilities and houses in the city, prompting the military to launch a counter offensive. Clashes continue as troops try to crush up to 100 militants that are still holed up in Mosques and houses in some parts of the city.
The month-long firefight has drove away the city's more than 200,000 residents and has killed nearly 400 people, including 69 soldiers and policemen.