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More than 40 Philippine police commandos were killed in an 11-hour firefight with Muslim rebels which erupted while they were chasing one of the region’s most wanted militants, police said Monday. The clash — which broke out despite a peace pact with the main rebel group — was “the single largest loss of life in recent memory by our security forces”, said interior minister Manuel Roxas. Almost 400 police commandos swooped before dawn on the hideout of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a splinter group which rejects the peace pact, in search of Zulkifli bin Hir. The 10,000-strong MILF, the main Muslim rebel group in the south, signed a peace treaty with the government in March last year.