A Philippine military official says at least 37 hardline Islamic fighters have been killed in a two-day offensive against insurgents opposed to a new peace deal between the government and the main Muslim rebel group.

Regional military spokesman Col. Dickson Hermoso said on Wednesday that 12 of the slain rebels of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement have been identified with the help of village leaders, while others were discovered by troops in freshly dug graves in a village in southern Maguindanao province. One soldier died and several were wounded Tuesday by homemade bombs hidden around a mosque.

Rebel spokesman Abu Misry disputes the military report, saying there have been no deaths and only seven of fighters have been wounded in army shelling and helicopter rocket fire.

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