Philippine marines have killed at least six Muslim extremists and captured one of their jungle lairs in fighting in the country's south.

Marine brigade commander Col. Jose Cenabre said Monday that the marines, backed by village militias, launched an assault over the weekend after several Abu Sayyaf militants were monitored in a jungle camp near Talipao town on Jolo island. Three militants were killed in a gunbattle and three more died later in military shelling.

Abu Sayyaf gunmen are still holding more than a dozen hostages, including two European bird watchers who were kidnapped last year. The captives were not in the Abu Sayyaf encampment that came under attack over the weekend.

The United States lists the Abu Sayyaf, notorious for beheadings and bombings, as a terrorist organization.