U.S. agents check for most wanted terrorists among Marawi bodies

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – United States government agents are in the Philippines to help identify the bodies retrieved in the battle area in Marawi City.

The agents arrived at the Capin Funeral Homes in Iligan City Monday morning, October 2, to "observe" agents of the local Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO).

They refused to be interviewed.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the US is interested because among the fighters in Marawi are part of its most wanted list of terrorists.

"They have reward money for some of them like Isnilon [Hapilon] which has a $5 million tag," Lorenzana told Rappler.

In this file photo, a Philippine Marines armored personnel carrier speeds away as black smoke billows from burning houses after military helicopters fired rockets at militant positions in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on May 30, 2017. Ted Aljibe/AFP

In this file photo, a Philippine Marines armored personnel carrier speeds away as black smoke billows from burning houses after military helicopters fired rockets at militant positions in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on May 30, 2017.

Ted Aljibe/AFP

Foreign fighters, too

Western Mindanao Command chief Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez earlier said two foreign fighters may be among the bodies recently retrieved from the battle area.

The US has the database of foreign fighters needed to check if DNA samples can verify identities of the dead fighters.

In 2015, it was the US the confirmed that it was Indonesian bomber "Marwan" that police Special Action Forces killed in a bloody operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

SOCO has been tasked to get DNA samples of all unidentied bodies from the battle area in the hope to match them with family members looking for missing relatives in Marawi.

SOCO is currently conducting autopsy on 25 bodies. – Rappler.com