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.