Philippine troops kill 10 suspected Islamist militants

Philippine troops kill 10 suspected Islamist militants

MANILA - Philippine troops have killed 10 suspected Islamist militants in a firefight that also left one soldier dead, a military spokesman said on Thursday.

Six government forces personnel were also wounded in Wednesday's fighting in Patikul town on Jolo Island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila, said Maj Filemon Tan, a regional military spokesman.

Maj Tan said the clash erupted when troops attacked a suspected hideout of the Abu Sayyaf militants in a village in Patikul.

The military has been conducting offensives against the Abu Sayyaf to free several hostages held by the group.

The spokesman said it was not known if any of the captives were with the militants during the fighting.

"The firefight is still ongoing," Maj Tan said, adding at least 100 rebels are involved in the violence.

The Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist militant group, is believed to be holding captive two Canadians, a Norwegian, a Dutchman and an Italian priest in the jungles of Jolo.

Aside from high-profile kidnappings for ransom involving foreigners, the group has been blamed for some of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the Philippines.

The group has also carried out several kidnappings in the southern Philippines.

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