9 dead as suspected Muslim rebels attack Philippine town

April 13, 2010 09:22

MANILA, Philippines — Suspected Muslim rebels wearing police and military uniforms detonated bombs and opened fire Tuesday in a southern Philippine town, triggering clashes that killed at least nine people, officials said.

The attack began with a series of simultaneous bomb blasts that hit a sports center, near a Roman Catholic cathedral and the residence of a local judge on Basilan Island, a militant stronghold where rebels and troops have repeatedly clashed, said marine commandant Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban.

He said at least three marines were killed and one was wounded while trying to secure the provincial capital of Isabela city. Four civilians and two police officers also were among the dead, said Basilan police chief Tony Mendoza.

A regional military commander, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, said the attackers were disguised in police and military uniforms. They set a vehicle on fire and fired at anyone "who looked like military or police" as they fled the scene, Mendoza said.

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