The Philippine military says two soldiers and at least five Abu Sayyaf militants have been killed in clashes in a southern island province.
Armed forces spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala says the running gun battles on Friday on Basilan Island also wounded 28 soldiers following their assault on a group of Abu Sayyaf fighters led by Puruji Indama.
The Abu Sayyaf, notorious for kidnappings and beheadings, was founded in Basilan in 1991 and is on the U.S. list of terror groups.
Indama is a young but ruthless commander allegedly involved in deadly bombings and kidnappings. He is accused of trying to extort money from a key road project in the province.