MANILA, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Philippines' military said on Wednesday that 22 bodies of pro-Islamic State (IS) militants have been found from two buildings that militants used as fortresses in the southern Philippine city of Marawi.
Meanwhile, a military lieutenant was killed by a sniper on Monday as the forces took back "a known enemy fortress" near Lake Lanao, a lake located in north of Marawi, military spokesman Restituto Padilla said.
The firefight to retake the two buildings went on for a number of days.
"We could not penetrate the buildings because of remaining resistance. We were able to clear it only yesterday or early today," he said on Wednesday.
The forces also seized in the area eight high-powered firearms, including two RPGs (rocket propelled grenades), four M-16 assault rifles, an F-4 assault rifle, an M-14 assault rifle, and "dozens of IEDs (improvised explosive devices)."
"This must have been the base where these rebels have been manufacturing the IEDs that that have been used in the remaining areas of rebel-held territories," Padilla told a news conference.
The Philippine military estimated there remained about 40 militant fighters in the city and the militants were using about 42 hostages, including "quite a number of children," as shields from the government forces.
The rebel-controlled area further dwindled into less than 5 hectares.
"The clearing up of buildings is catching pace," he said, adding that there were around 150 enemy-controlled buildings that needed to be cleared.
"We need to consider all of these factors in our offensive in the last few days or in the last few weeks of these fight because the safety of the hostages remain to be part (of the operations) so they may be rescued alive," he said.
According to the military, the conflict that broke out in May has so far killed over 1,000 people, including 160 government security forces, 802 extremists and 47 civilians.