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At Least 7 Killed in Philippine Rebel Attacks

Philippine military officials say at least seven people have been killed this week and nine others wounded in a series of rebel attacks on the southern island of Mindanao.

A military spokesman says Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels attacked two villages on Tuesday and Wednesday, and used rocket propelled grenades and assault rifles to attack military outposts.

Officials say all of the victims were civilians and report no military casualties.

On Thursday, soldiers say they defused a homemade bomb packed with nails on a bridge in Mindanao's Maguindanao province. It is believed that the bomb was intended to hit a military convoy.

MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu denied there was an attack and accused the military of trying to provoke the separatist group.

Peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF broke down in August.

Also Thursday, authorities in the southern Philippines say a teenager abducted more than two months ago by Muslim rebels has been freed by his captors.

Joed Pilangga was released unharmed late Wednesday in the town of Al-Barka, located on the island of Basilan. The 17-year-old nursing student was abducted on October 17 in the city of Zamboanga and taken to Basilan.

Authorities say Pilangga was freed after negotiations between the rebels and provincial Vice-Governor Al-Rahsheed Sakalahul. His family also paid a ransom, but amount was not disclosed.

The kidnappers are believed to be members of Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic rebel group believed to have ties with al-Qaida.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.