Philippine officials say army troops and police have killed 13 suspected criminals in a fierce gun battle that also wounded a police officer in a coastal town southeast of Manila.

Army Lt. Col. Monico Abang says the gunmen aboard two black SUVs opened fire on about 50 police and army special forces troops when they were flagged down on Sunday afternoon at a highway checkpoint in Atimonan town in Quezon province, sparking the fire fight.

Mr. Abang, who led the army troops, tells The Associated Press that gunmen from a third van also opened fire but managed to turn around and escape.

Quezon provincial police chief Valeriano de Leon says 11 gunmen died in the scene of the clash. Two others died while being brought to a hospital.

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