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Philippine militants linked to Al Qaeda threaten Red Cross hostage

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Philippine government official/AP

(Read caption) ABU SAYYAF: Members of the militant group cook on the island of Jolo in the southern Philippines in this undated photo. The group is holding three Red Cross workers hostage on the island.

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Al Qaeda-linked militants in the Philippines have threatened to behead a Red Cross hostage if government troops do not withdraw from their stronghold, signaling an alarming new comeback for terrorist groups in the Philippines.

The threat of beheading comes days after "[M]arine snipers ... fired at the [Abu Sayyaf] militants trying to breach a loose military cordon, sparking two days of clashes that killed three marines and up to seven guerrillas," reports the Associated Press.

The militants have given the government one week, beginning Monday (March 23), to complete the withdrawal from part of Jolo Island (also called Sulu), reports The Inquirer, a leading English-language newspaper in the Philippines.

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