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Cablegate: August 25 Update On Jolo Operations

VZCZCXRO0721
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3560 2370803
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 250803Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2643
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 9407
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//OSD/ISA/AP// IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS MANILA 003560

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO
JOINT STAFF J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)
OSD/ISA/AP (LAWLESS/TOOLAN/BAILEY)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER MOPS MCAP PREL RP
SUBJECT: AUGUST 25 UPDATE ON JOLO OPERATIONS

REF: A. MANILA 3401

B. MANILA 3352
C. MANILA 3299
D. MANILA 3218

1. (SBU) "Operation Ultimatum," the Armed Forces of the
Philippines' (AFP) effort to capture or kill senior Abu
Sayyaf (ASG) and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leaders on the island
of Jolo, is now in its 25th day. The AFP remains determined
to maintain the pressure on the fugitive terrorists, who
appear to be located in the vicinity of Patikul in central
Jolo. On August 23, Scout Rangers patrolling the area ran
into heavy resistance and suffered 14 wounded and two killed.
The AFP responded with artillery and mortar fire and OV-10
and helicopter gunship strikes, and continues to hit ASG/JI
targets once they are identified. Several terrorists are
reported killed, although the actual number casualties is
still unclear and there is no confirmation of their identity.
The Philippine Navy is maintaining a tight maritime cordon
around the island, stopping on average 50 vessels per day.

2. (SBU) U.S. Joint Special Operations Task
Force-Philippines troops assisted an August 24 AFP medical
civic action mission in Indanan that treated 50 people.
Soldiers distributed medical supplies and scheduled
appointments for follow-on surgery. A ribbon cutting for an
Area Coordination Center servicing the Indanan area will take
place on August 30. Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
refugees in the No-Fire Area north of Mount Tumatangis are
receiving supplies and water. According to sources, the
local MNLF leadership continues to exercise restraint and has
kept its fighters out of the conflict.

Visit Embassy Manila's Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm
Jones

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