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52 dead in clashes with suspected militants in Philippine

Clashes between troops and suspected Al-Qaeda-linked militants have killed at least 52 people on volatile southern Jolo island, the Philippine military said on Friday.

world Updated: Aug 10, 2007 08:26 IST

Clashes between troops and suspected Al-Qaeda-linked militants have killed at least 52 people on volatile southern Jolo island, the Philippine military said on Friday.

The death toll included 25 soldiers -- six more than reported late on Thursday and 27 militants, based on updated field reports from the clashes that began on Thursday when suspected Abu Sayyaf extremists ambushed a truck carrying troops headed to market, then fought a gunbattle with soldiers in pursuit, according to Maj Eugene Batara, spokesman for the military's Western Mindanao Command.

Another 10 soldiers and an undetermined number of militants were hurt, Batara said. He said the militant death toll was based on confirmed intelligence reports, but that the rebels carted away their dead and wounded.