VIDEO: ISIS Affiliated Abu Sayyaf Group Killed & Injured 41 Philippine Forces

Sun Apr 10, 2016 19:10:04

Clashes between Philippine troops and Islamic rebels in the southern Philippines leave at least 23 people dead and dozens more injured.

Philippine soldiers battled a group of about 120 extremist rebels linked to so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS, ISIL, IS and Daesh) affiliated group in a ten-hour assault on a southern island that killed 23 people, an army spokesman said on Sunday.

Video published by AFP shows wounded Philippine soldiers receive medals in hospital after carrying out an offensive against the extremist Abu Sayyaf terror group.

Major Filemon Tan said the military attacked a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf rebels on the island of Basilan led by Isnilon Hapilon, an insurgent for whom the U.S. State Department has offered a bounty of up to $5 million.

Isnilon Hapilon

There was no immediate statement from the small but violent Abu Sayyaf group, which is known for extortion, kidnappings, beheadings and bombings, and is one of the brutal extremist rebel factions in the south of the largely Christian Philippines.

""I can confirm 18 soldiers were killed and 53 were wounded," Tan said, adding that five militants, including a Moroccan, Mohammad Khattab, and Ubaida, a son of Hapilon, were killed in Saturday's incident, which wounded 20 rebels."

The group has posted videos on social media sites pledging allegiance to Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, which have attracted foreign fighters from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa to the troubled Philippine south.

The army has stepped up its offensive against the rebels since November, Tan said, when President Benigno Aquino ordered it to hunt down Abu Sayyaf over the kidnapping and execution of foreign nationals.

On the nearby island of Jolo, the rebels on Friday released an Italian man from six months of captivity. Troops were also on alert as another Abu Sayyaf faction threatened to execute two Canadians and a Norwegian tourist after a ransom deadline expired.

In March 2014, the government signed a peace deal with the largest Muslim extremist rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, promising to grant autonomy in the south and ending a 45-year conflict that killed 120,000 people and displaced 2 million.


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