Philippine military launches air strikes on rebels
THE Philippine military launched a helicopter assault yesterday on Muslim rebels occupying parts of a major southern city, stepping up efforts to end an eight-day stand-off that has left dozens dead.
Two air-force helicopters fired rocket rounds towards Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels held up in coastal villages in Zamboanga city, as the military confirmed the attacks.
"This is precision close air support directed by ground troops to suppress the enemy," military spokesman Ramon Zagala said.
The helicopter assaults were the first air strikes since troops began their offensive on Friday to defeat the MNLF forces.