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ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine military says 12 Abu Sayyaf militants have been killed in clashes as army troops pressed an offensive in a southern province after the extremists were blamed for the deadly bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command says the 12 militants were killed in four separate clashes Thursday in mountainous Patikul town in Sulu province. The bodies of two of the slain militants were retrieved.

It says several army scout rangers were wounded.

The military said Friday that largest fighting involved 120 militants led by Hajan Sawadjaan and Radullan Sahiron near the village of Panglayahan.

Sawadjaan is the main suspect in the Jan. 27 cathedral bombing that killed 23 people in Sulu.

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