MANILA, Philippines — At least 18 soldiers were killed in fierce daylong fighting with Islamic extremists in the southern Philippines on Saturday in the largest single-day government combat loss this year, officials said.
At least 52 other soldiers were wounded in the clashes with Abu Sayyaf militants and allied gunmen in the hinterlands bordering the towns of Tipo Tipo and Al-Barka on Basilan island, three senior military officials told The Associated Press. They said at least four militants were killed.
The three officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss details of the clashes. The large combat casualties were reported as the Philippines marked the Day of Valor to remember Filipino veterans who died in World War II.