>> Ground zero of a deadly militant siege in the southern Philipines. This was the lair of Isnilon Hapilon, Islamic state's leader in Southeast Asia, where he prepared to seize the city of Marawi. After solders failed to stop him here in May, a group of around 1,000 Islamic militants laid siege to the city for five months.
Only Hapilon's death two weeks ago signaled the beginning of the end. Reuters' Martin Petty visited the leader's hideout and spoke to locals to piece together how Hapilon evaded the military.>> When the security forces arrived to arrest him, the rebels already knew they were coming. There were lookouts, there were gunmen in houses around.
It seems the rebels were very well prepared, perhaps better than the security forces were. It was an intense battle, it lasted three days. The army fight heavy machine guns at the house. The militants responded with rocket propelled grenades. The security forces were clearly unprepared for what was to happen next.
Hapilon escapes through a hole blasted out at the back of the house. Across a rice field, and towards a lake, all the which was not secured. Arguably the Marawi seas may have been completely different had that raid been successful.>> Official says a near by Mosque provided cover for foreign fighters to slip into Marawi undetected.
Locals told Reuters, they have no idea militant's were living in Hapilon's house.>> We went inside the house and it definitely looked like the den of extremists. There were black clothes, Muslim scarfs, copies of the Quran on the floor in every room. The place had been hit badly by machine guns and whoever was here left in a hurry.
>> The militant leaders escape was a costly failure, in the end clashes killed more than 1,000 people and airstrikes tore the city apart. A fraction of the hundreds of thousands displaced by the fight were allowed to return to Murawi on Monday to find homes ransacked or in ruins.
Many more face a long wait for rebuilding, an effort estimated to cost nearly a $1 billion.