US-trained Philippine troops have killed 10 and wounded 15 suspected Al Qaeda linked militants in a clash on Wednesday in Patikul town on Jolo Island a military spokesperson said.
The clashes have also killed eight soldiers including a lieutenant and wounded six government forces personnel.
Maj Filemon Tan, the regional military spokesperson briefed the reporters about the clash between Philippine Army and about 300 militants of the Abu Sayyaf, which recently announced support for the DAESH terrorist group.
“Our troops are pursuing the Abu Sayyaf who broke into groups and withdrew to the interior of the island,” Tan said and added that the military operation was focusing on freeing the foreign hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf.
According to the military, Abu Sayyaf is holding two Canadians, a Dutch citizen, a Norwegian and a Japanese citizen.
Abu Sayyaf, which beheaded Malaysian hostage Bernard Then Ted Fen in November after his family failed to pay the ransom, is widely known for kidnappings, beheadings and bombings.
President of Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, who intensified the country's battle against Abu Sayyaf, said that the cowardly act of terrorism does not represent any race, religion and creed and it should not be allowed to claim it does.
The Philippine government signed a peace deal with another rebel group in order to stop the conflict which has lasted for 45 years.
However, Abu Sayyaf and Bangsamoro militants did not agree to sign the peace deal with the government.