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Communist rebels ambush Philippine police, kill 7

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 27, 2013 at 2:06 am •  Published: May 27, 2013

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Communist guerrillas set off a roadside bomb and opened fire on a truck carrying police in the northern Philippines on Monday, killing seven and wounding seven officers.

The members of the elite police Special Action Force were en route to a hospital for a regular medical test when the rebels, hiding in the bush along the road, detonated the explosive device and sprayed the vehicle with gunfire, said the regional police director, Chief Superintendent Rodrigo de Gracia.

Such hit-and-run attacks are common throughout the 44-year rural-based Marxist insurgency, which has claimed an estimated 120,000 lives.

Philippine security forces have been stretched thin by fighting communist rebels while also battling Muslim militants in the south. On Saturday, al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf guerrillas killed seven marines in a clash on Jolo Island in an operation aimed at rescuing six foreign and Filipino hostages.

The government recently suspended peace talks brokered by Norway after the communist rebels rejected an immediate cease-fire.

De Garcia said the police commandos returned fire but were overpowered by the rebels, who later fled with weapons from the slain officers.

The seven wounded managed to escape on foot and were rescued by government troops in the Ballesteros Municipal Hospital in Cagayan province, more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of the capital, Manila.

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