Thirteen Philippine marines were killed and nine others wounded in a clash with al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf militants on a southern island Saturday, a military spokesman said. The military estimated 30 militants died.
The marines attacked an Abu Sayyaf encampment and engaged the militants in close-quarter combat in a remote village outside the town of Ungkaya Pukan on Basilan island early Saturday, Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro said.
A GMA Television reporter close to the scene reported troops, tanks, and helicopters were rushing to the area. Gunfire could still be heard in the background as he reported from the area at about 12:30 p.m. local time.
It was the bloodiest clash on Basilan since 14 marines were killed in an ambush last month.