Manila: Eight members of a criminal gang that pledged allegiance to Islamic State jihadists were killed in a firefight with the military in the southern Philippines, officials said today.
The hour-long battle took place on Thursday in Palimbang, a remote town in the south -- home to the predominantly Catholic nation's Muslim minority and the scene of decades of conflict.
The bandits were from Ansar al-Khalifa, a small group that declared its support for Islamic State in a video circulated on the Internet last year, regional military spokesman Major Filemon Tan said.
The military has said that support for Islamic State -- which controls vast swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq -- in the Philippines was limited to local bandits claiming allegiance to the group.
But it has said there is no evidence showing that such gangs were receiving support from the jihadists.