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Philippines troops hunt Abu Sayyaf militants after terrorist bombings on Basilan

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Al Jacinto/AP

(Read caption) Police investigators examine at one of three bombing sites at the island province of Basilan in southern Philippines where Muslim militants disguised as policemen and army troops detonated bombs and opened fire Tuesday in Isabela city, triggering clashes that killed at least 13 people.

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Hundreds of troops and policemen continued to hunt militants Wednesday in the southern Philippines after terrorist bombings yesterday that left at least 13 dead, including civilians and suspected militants. The attack demonstrated the continued volatility of the southern Philippines, where US troops have been stationed since 2002 to train and equip local forces in their fight against separatists.

On the southern island of Basilan, men dressed in military and police clothing set off a series of bombs in the city of Isabela and fired on people trying to flee. Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino told the BBC that the Abu Sayyaf Group, a militant organization that is sometimes described as Islamist separatists but which is also heavily involved in kidnap-for-ransom and other criminal enterprises, was behind the attack. One Abu Sayyaf leader, Bensar Indama, had been reported among the dead. The Abu Sayyaf is small, with about 390 fighters according to the Associated Press, but still manages to pull off the occasional spectacular attack:


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