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3 Philippine marines, 2 militants killed in clash

MANILA -- The Philippine military says marines who were searching for long-held hostages battled Abu Sayyaf militants in a fierce clash hat killed three marines and two guerrillas in the south.

Regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang says 10 other marines were wounded in the clash that erupted after dawn Sunday and continued sporadically through the day in the mountainous hinterlands of Patikul town in Sulu province.

Regional military commander Maj. Gen. Rey Ardo ordered aircraft and ships to back up the government forces and ensure the recovery of the slain marines.

Cabangbang says the marines were deployed in Patikul to check the reported sighting of hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf, which has been blamed for separate kidnappings of two Europeans, a Japanese, a Jordanian and two Filipinos.

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