Philippine police say communist rebels set off a roadside bomb and opened fire on a truck carrying police, killing seven and wounding seven officers.

The regional police director in the northern Philippines, Chief Superintendent Rodrigo de Gracia, said Monday's attack targeted members of the elite Special Action Force who were en route to a hospital in Allacapan for a regular medical test.

He said the police returned fire but were overpowered by the rebels who were hiding in the bush along the road. The rebels later fled with weapons from the slain officers.

The rebel New People's Army has been fighting for a Marxist state for 44 years.

The government has recently suspended peace talks brokered by Norway after the rebels rejected an immediate cease-fire.