ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine military on Monday launched an airstrike at the position of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City as the fighting entered its second week.
Two MG520 attack helicopters staged the airstrike shortly after a brief lull midday cutting off the silence of the southern skies, unleashing rockets towards the rebels' defensive positions, the military said.
There was no immediate confirmation if the rebels were dislodged or casualties were incurred in the air attack.
But the military said what was launched was close air support to complement the ground forces offensive.
"The close air support was based on the request and directive of the unit ground commander to suppress the enemy position," said Lieutenant Col. Ramon Zagala, the designated spokesman of the on going military operation.
The government forces have remained its fatality figure to six police and soldiers killed but the number of wounded have already climbed to 81, including 69 soldiers and 12 police, according to Zagala.
The police and military said the casualty count of the rebels increased to 63 killed and many others wounded.
The MNLF rebels started their attack last Monday (Sept. 9) in an attempt to hoist their flag in the city hall. It was believed to be led by the faction of MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari, who disagrees with the new peace deal the government is working on.