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Top Philippine security officials say they were unaware of assault that left 44 commandos dead

  • A Filipino Muslim displays a message during a rally at the Lower House to call for the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law, or BBL in southern Philippines Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. The BBL deliberation by the Lower House was postponed indefinitely following the botched police operation to capture Malaysian terror suspect Zulkifli bin Hir, known as Marwan which resulted in the killing of 44 elite police commandos. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    A Filipino Muslim displays a message during a rally at the Lower House to call for the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law, or BBL in southern Philippines Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. The BBL deliberation by the Lower House was postponed indefinitely following the botched police operation to capture Malaysian terror suspect Zulkifli bin Hir, known as Marwan which resulted in the killing of 44 elite police commandos. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Filipino Muslim chant slogans during a rally at the Lower House to call for the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law, or BBL in southern Philippines Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. The BBL deliberation by the Lower House was postponed indefinitely following the botched police operation to capture Malaysian terror suspect Zulkifli bin Hir, known as Marwan which resulted in the killing of 44 elite police commandos. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    A Filipino Muslim chant slogans during a rally at the Lower House to call for the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law, or BBL in southern Philippines Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. The BBL deliberation by the Lower House was postponed indefinitely following the botched police operation to capture Malaysian terror suspect Zulkifli bin Hir, known as Marwan which resulted in the killing of 44 elite police commandos. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

Top Philippine military, defense and police officials say they were not told ahead of time about a Jan. 25 police commando raid that targeted one of Southeast Asia's most-wanted terror suspects and resulted in the deaths of 44 commandos.

Military chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang and other generals told a Senate hearing Tuesday that their lack of prior knowledge of the assault prevented them from rapidly providing help to the commandos, who became entangled in a clash with Muslim rebels in southern Mamasapano town and suffered one of the government's largest combat losses in recent memory.

A large Muslim rebel group that signed a peace deal with the government last year promised to return firearms taken from the commandos during the clash.