The Philippines’ military said Thursday the death toll from an assault against Al-Qaeda-linked militants had risen to 26, with one marine among the dead as troops cleared the combat area.
The latest fatalities on the southern island of Jolo bring to 33 the total number of Abu Sayyaf fighters killed in a month of operations against the group feared for its kidnapping raids.
Most of the deaths came on Tuesday amid fierce fighting after marines overran a camp on the heavily forested island the previous day. Dozens of militants and troops were also wounded.
Military spokeswoman Captain Rowena Muyuela said residents had reported additional casualties following the clashes. “This operation is part of the continuing military action against the Abu Sayyaf to rid the province of their kidnapping activities,” she said.