ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AP) — Officials says five more rebels and an elderly woman were killed as fighting dragged on in a southern Philippine city between government troops and a group of Muslim rebels holding out with about 20 civilian hostages.

The 71-year-old woman was killed Saturday when a stray mortar shell allegedly fired by the rebels loyal to Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari hit her house in Zamboanga city.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala says five more rebels were killed and two soldiers were wounded as troops battled rebels within meters (yards) of each other. He says 35 rebels are holding out.

Troops are searching two neighborhoods for rebels who seized scores of civilians as human shields 13 days ago when government forces repulsed their bid to occupy the city.

 

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