RealNews

Drive Is Stalled Against Rebels in Philippines

A government offensive against Muslim separatist rebels in the southern Philippines — the largest operation since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took power two years ago — was suspended today amid widespread chaos in the region. President Arroyo said today that she was declaring a cease-fire in deference to the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha, the Islamic feast of sacrifice marking the end of hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. But Jesus Dureza, a government spokesman, admitted that the offensive was “giving us problems.” But Ms. Arroyo did not order her troops to pull out, indicating that fighting could resume if negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which are scheduled to resume on Wednesday, do not make progress. Full Story

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