Philippine troops clash with Muslim militants on southern island; 8 hurt

Philippine troops clashed with al-Qaida-linked militants on a southern island, leaving eight soldiers and an unknown number of rebels wounded, officials said Wednesday. The latest fighting on Jolo island, a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf militants who have been targeted by US-backed offensives, occurred Tuesday when soldiers encountered about 20 guerrillas near Talipao township, army spokesman Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres said. He said the rebels fled after the 30-minute clash and were believed to have suffered "many casualties." Eight soldiers were wounded and taken to a military hospital, he said, without giving details.