Philippine army kills 14 Islamic militants

February 26, 2015 5:42 AM

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MANILA (Reuters) - U.S.-trained army commandos on Thursday killed 14 Islamist militants belonging to the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group in the first major battle this year on a remote southern island, as the Philippines stepped up efforts to rescue foreign hostages.

The Abu Sayyaf is the smallest but most deadly of several Muslim groups fighting for independence in the south of the Roman Catholic country. It is estimated to have about 500 hard-core followers based mostly on Basilan and Jolo.

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