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Philippines' Arroyo Orders Fresh Attacks on Rebels

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered “selective aerial and artillery attacks” on what she called “terrorist cells” on Saturday, hours before she was to due leave for a state visit to the United States. Without giving details of the operations, she said the move was to support an offensive against Muslim rebels on the main southern island of Mindanao where at least 80 people have been killed in attacks since the beginning of March. “I authorize the Armed Forces of the Philippines to employ selective aerial and artillery attacks to dislodge embedded terrorist cells that have attacked hapless civilian communities and murdered scores of innocent Filipinos in Mindanao,” Arroyo said in an address to the nation. “We’ve decided to use extraordinary punitive forces not merely in view of tactical necessity, but to signify the determination of the government to bring terrorists to justice.” Full Story

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