An Australian television journalist was shot in the neck on Thursday as he reported from a southern Philippine city where Islamist militants are battling government troops, but he did not suffer major injuries.
Adam Harvey, a reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, wrote on Twitter: “Lucky”, alongside an image of an X-ray showing the bullet lodged in his neck, close to his spine.
“Thanks everyone – I’m okay. Bullet is still in my neck, but it missed everything important,” he said in another Twitter post.
Harvey was shot in Marawi, the most important Muslim city in the mainly Catholic Philippines where government forces are struggling to defeat hundreds of militants fighting under the black flags of the Islamic State (IS) group.
He was inside the provincial capitol compound where local and foreign journalists have congregated during the more than three weeks of fighting, the government’s crisis management committee spokesman, Zia Alonto Adiong, told AFP.
Although the compound is secured by the military, it is only about two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the pockets of the city that the gunmen control.
“I want to appeal to everyone you should be very careful because in our assessment the vicinity of the 103rd (military camp), the vicinity of the capitol is within the line of sight of the enemy,” local military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jo-ar Herrera told reporters in the compound after the shooting incident.
Harvey was taken to the nearby city of Iligan for medical treatment, Adiong said.
At least 26 civilians and 58 security forces have died in the conflict, according to authorities. They say more than 200 militants have been killed.
The city of 200,000 people has been largely abandoned due to the fighting, which has seen the military relentlessly bomb the areas held by the militants, with residents fleeing to nearby towns.
However hundreds of civilians are trapped in the militant-controlled areas with some being used as human shields, according to the military.