Manila: At least five soldiers and nine Abu Sayyaf members were killed and 26 injured Friday in a clash in Philippines’ Sulu province.

According to officials, the incident occurred when the soldiers were attacked by the militants during a law enforcement operation in Talipao town, Xinhua reported.

The officials added that the army was in a pursuit operation for the fleeing militants.

According to Rowena Muyuela, spokesperson of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), airstrike was launched to support the operating army rangers that battled against the Abu Sayyaf militants.

The Abu Sayyaf is a terrorist group founded in the 1990s and has perpetrated a number of high-profile attacks, including abductions and bombings.