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Filipino offensive kills 5 militants; leaders fled

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine military assault has killed three al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf commanders and two other gunmen in a jungle encampment in the mountainous southern Sulu province, but failed to snare a key Southeast Asian terror suspect.

Military spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said Monday the five killed during the weekend air and ground operation by OV-10 bomber planes and marines were Filipino members of the violent Abu Sayyaf group.

Intelligence officials are trying to determine the whereabouts of the two escaped suspects, Malaysian leader Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, and group commander Umbra Jumdail.

Washington has offered huge rewards for their capture.

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