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Philippines military launches airstrikes on Abu Sayyaf

The Philippine military has launched airstrikes against a group threatening to behead a German man. The deadline for the delivery of a 566,000-euro ransom has passed with no updates.

The Philippine military has continued airstrikes on Abu Sayyaf ahead of a ransom deadline, a military spokesman said on Sunday.

The militants issued their "final ultimatum" nearly two weeks ago, saying they would behead a 70-year-old German hostage if they did not receive 30 million pesos (566,000 euros/$600,000) by 3 p.m. (0700 UTC) on Sunday. There have been no updates since the deadline passed.

"The armed forces will pursue the enemy and dictate the terms - not the other way around," military spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said. "The operations are not only aimed at rescuing hostages, but also to significantly degrade enemy capabilities."

Abu Sayyaf has held the man captive for three months on the island of Jolo, 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) south of the capital, Manila. On Saturday, an attack helicopter targeted a forest in the town of Patikul, where officials say 60 Abu Sayyaf members may have taken refuge. The military also deployed hundreds of ground troops in an offensive ahead of the deadline, and officials have vowed not to stop their offensives despite threats to hostages.

The group has long attempted to finance its endeavors through ransoms.  The "Manila Bulletin" newspaper reports that Abu Sayyaf killed two Canadian hostages last June, but released a Filipina woman whom they had threatened to kill and, according to police sources, collected a 30 million-peso ransom for a Norwegian prisoner.

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