Authorities in the southern Philippines say at least 11 people have been killed in a clash between government troops and a Muslim militant gang.
Military spokesman Brigadier General Domingo Tutaan said seven Philippine marines and at least four members of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group died early Saturday in a firefight on the outskirts of Patikul town on the island of Jolo.
Tutaan said at least nine other marines were wounded in the close-quarters fight.
Abu Sayyaf, long active in the southern Philippines, first appeared in the 1990s and is listed as a terrorist organization by Washington and Manila. It is accused of carrying out some of the worst terrorist attacks in recent Philippine history.
The group, which uses kidnappings and extortion to raise money, claimed responsibility for the 2004 bombing of a ferry near Manila Bay that killed more than 100 people. The group is thought to have fewer than 400 members.