Two American soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb believed to have been planted by Al Qaeda-linked militants, U.S. officials said. They were the first U.S. troops to die in an attack in the Philippines in seven years.
A Philippine marine also was killed and two were wounded in the blast on Jolo island, a poor, predominantly Muslim southern region where the Americans have been providing combat training and weapons to government troops battling Abu Sayyaf militants. The Philippine military suspects that the militant group was behind the attack.
A senior Philippine commander said he did not think the assault would shake the U.S. resolve to fight Islamic extremists in the country.
“I don’t think they’ll contemplate leaving,” said Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, a regional military commander who oversees counter-terrorism assaults in Jolo and nearby regions. The U.S. Embassy said that the soldiers’ vehicle hit a roadside bomb while they were on a resupply mission for a school construction project.