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Philippines, U.S. hold joint military drill

(Xinhua)

08:11, April 26, 2012

Soldiers from the Philippine Marines and US Marines take part in a mock assault of an island in Palawan, the Philippines on April 25, 2012. A mock amphibious raid is exercised by Philippine and US soldiers at Ulugan Bay Wednesday, as a part of the annual joint military exercise between the Philippines and the United States for 2012, starting on April 16. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

MANILA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- About 100 American and Filipino forces staged a mock beachfront assault Wednesday in Palawan, the Philippines, as part of the ongoing Balikatan joint military exercises between the two countries.

At around 9 a.m., naval vessel BRP Laguna released 12 rubber boats with American and Filipino soldiers about four to five miles off the shore of the Ulugan bay. The soldiers were unloaded from the boats about 300 meters from the shore.

As part of the mock boat raid exercise, the soldiers then swam to the shore and assaulted a port which had been captured by terrorists holding hostages.

"It's a port seizure and recovery," said Navy lieutenant Annalea Palad-Cazcarro, deputy chief of the Balikatan exercises on the Philippine side.

"At the end of the firefight, the port was recovered and the hostages were rescued."

Last Saturday, the two forces conducted a gas and oil platform defense and retake exercise also at the South China Sea.

"This is a bilateral exercise conducted every year. Besides, this was planned a year before and has nothing to do with any other country," Cazcarro said to justify the conduct of the training exercises in Palawan.

U.S. and Filipino troops also conducted live fire exercises at the gunnery range of Crow Valley in Capaz, Tarlac province in north Philippines.

The 12-day Balikatan war game will formally close at the general headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Friday.

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