'8 killed in clash between Philippine marines and Muslim rebels'

Muslim guerrillas attacked Philippine marines as they held a dialogue with villagers on southern Basilan island, sparking clashes that killed at least eight people, a marine general said Wednesday. Four members of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group and two marines were killed in Tuesday's clashes in Ungkaya Pukan township and nearby villages. Gunfights erupted sporadically in the mountainous region Wednesday, killing two more militants, marine Brig. Gen. Juancho Sabban said. Five marines and seven Abu Sayyaf militants were wounded in the initial attack in Ungkaya Pukan, about 880 kilometers south of Manila, he said. "The marines were having a dialogue with local villagers when the rebels opened fire on them. They started the fighting," Sabban told the Associated Press.