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Muslim Rebels Attack Philippine Towns

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A deadly attack by a Muslim separatist group in Zamboanga City, on the Philippine island of Mindanao, has evolved into a tense hostage crisis, while two other Muslim rebel groups staged separate attacks in neighboring towns. Starting early on Monday, hundreds of armed Moro National Liberation Front rebels, enraged by a failed peace deal with the Philippine government, landed on the coast of Zamboanga, with a reported goal of capturing the City Hall. Philippine Armed Forces responded, killing at least 14, and encircling the rebels, who have taken nearly 200 hostages to use as human shields. As the standoff in Zamboanga reached a fourth day, a separate, possibly unrelated attack took place on the neighboring island of Basilan, where approximately 150 members of two smaller Muslim rebel groups clashed with government forces, wounding three. [25 photos]

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Philippine government troops continue their assault on members of the Muslim rebel Moro National Liberation Front in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines, on September 12, 2013. Philippine troops battled Muslim rebels on two fronts Thursday, after extremists attacked a second city near the southern port where militants have been holding scores of residents hostage in a four-day standoff with government forces. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Philippine government troops continue their assault on members of the Muslim rebel Moro National Liberation Front in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines, on September 12, 2013. Philippine troops battled Muslim rebels on two fronts Thursday, after extremists attacked a second city near the southern port where militants have been holding scores of residents hostage in a four-day standoff with government forces. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Fresh troops arrive as reinforcements, continuing an assault on Muslim rebels in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) #
Residents, believed to be hostages, wave white sheets as they shout at troops to halt their operation in the continuing standoff with Muslim rebels in Zamboanga City, on September 11, 2013. About 200 Muslim rebels, enraged by a broken peace deal with the Philippine government, are holding scores of hostages as human shields in a continuing standoff with government forces for the third day with no solution in sight. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) #
Government soldiers take cover during a firefight with Muslim rebels from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. Fighting between security forces and rogue Muslim rebels seeking to declare an independent state escalated and spread to a second island, officials said. U.S.-trained commandos exchanged gunfire with a breakaway faction of the MNLF holding dozens of hostages in Zamboanga City, on the southernmost island of Mindanao. (Reuters/Erik De Castro) #
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels, one of them injured, lie on the ground after they were captured at a military checkpoint in downtown Zamboanga, on September 11, 2013. (Reuters/Erik De Castro) #
A weapon concealed in a bag of rice carried by an MNLF rebel lies on a road after the rebel was captured at a military checkpoint in downtown Zamboanga, on September 11, 2013. (Reuters/Erik De Castro) #
Paramedics carry a wounded MNLF rebel on a stretcher, after he was captured at a checkpoint in downtown Zamboanga, on September 11, 2013. (Reuters/Erik De Castro) #
Villagers use boats to flee the current standoff between Government troops and Muslim rebels at the southern port city of Zamboanga, on September 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) #
Residents living near the area of a stand-off between the Philippine military and Muslim gunmen in Zamboanga, in dozens of boats after evacuating the city's boulevards, along the coast on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, on September 11, 2013. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images) #
Government forces man the port at sunset as about 200 Muslim rebels, enraged by a broken peace deal with the Philippine government, hold scores of hostages as human shields in a continuing standoff with government forces at the southern port city of Zamboanga, on September 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) #
A Philippine soldier mans a machine gun inside an armored personnel carrier during a firefight between government forces and Muslim rebels in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images) #
A sniper of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force aims his rifle at the Muslim mosque with its minaret full of pockmarks during a standoff with Muslim rebels, on September 10, 2013, in Zamboanga. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) #
A policeman uses a mirror to scan the positions of Moro National Liberation Front snipers in Zamboanga, where security forces are battling hundreds of rebels who are holding dozens of civilian hostages, on September 10, 2013. (Reuters/Stringer) #
Government soldiers pray prior to taking their position as the stand-off enter its fourth day in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images) #
Government troops continue their assault on Muslim rebels, on September 12, 2013, in Zamboanga City. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) #
Government troops fire their weapons at Muslim rebels positions in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) #
A Philippine soldier guides a fire truck to burning houses during a firefight between government forces and Muslim rebels in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images) #
Residents attempt to extinguish the flames from burning houses, caused by a firefight between government soldiers and Muslim rebels in a residential district in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (Reuters/Erik De Castro) #
Residents rush to save their belongings as fire continues to raze several homes while government troops continued an assault on Muslim rebels in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) #
A partially burned cat runs away from burning houses during a firefight between government forces and Muslim rebels in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images) #
A man throws water on a burning house in a residential district, where a fire broke out after a clash between government soldiers and Muslim rebels in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (Reuters/Erik De Castro) #
A resident holds his head as a fire razes several homes during a firefight in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) #
A Philippine soldier fires his M-16 rifle at rebel snipers as another soldier covers his ears during a firefight between government forces and Muslim rebels in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images) #
Members of the Philippine national police special forces take cover as they move on enemy positions among burning houses during a firefight in Zamboanga City, on September 12, 2013. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images) #
Firemen rush to put out a fire that razed dozens of structures during a government assault on members of the Muslim rebel Moro National Liberation Front in Zamboanga city, southern Philippines, on September 12, 2013. Philippine troops battled Muslim rebels on two fronts on Thursday, after about 150 extremists attacked a second city near the southern port where militants have been holding scores of residents hostage in a four-day standoff with government forces. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) #

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