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Seven communist rebels killed in Philippines

Seven communist guerrillas have been killed in three days of intense fighting in the southern Philippines, the military said on Saturday.

world Updated: Feb 07, 2009 08:35 IST

Seven communist guerrillas have been killed in three days of intense fighting in the southern Philippines, the military said on Saturday.

Clashes began on Wednesday after New People's Army (NPA) rebels ambushed a military convoy responding to civilian complaints of harassment by the rebels near the town of Tulunan on Mindanao island, the army said.

A firefight erupted after the ambush, killing one guerrilla and leading to the capture of a training camp operated by the rebels in the area.

The guerrillas on Thursday fired mortars and rifle grenades at army positions, triggering another round of fighting which forced about 300 families to flee their homes, the army said.

On Friday, the army launched air strikes against the NPA rebels, killing six of the gunmen, two of whom were said to be top cadres in Mindanao, said the army's commander on the ground, Lieutenant Colonel Milfredo Meligrito.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a Maoist rebellion since 1969.