Air strikes were launched against about 150 members of the group on Saturday in the town of Patikul, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila, according to Major Filemon Tan, a regional military spokesman.
Three soldiers were also killed and 21 were wounded in the operation, he said.
Abu Sayyaf is holding several hostages captive on Jolo, including a 70-year-old German man who was abducted from his yacht off the southern province of Tawi-Tawi on November 5.
The German man's wife, who reportedly tried to fight back against the militants, was found dead on the boat.
The group has demanded 5 million pesos (102,040 dollars) in ransom for his release.
Aside from kidnapping foreign hostages, Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for some of the Philippines' worst terrorist attacks.
Earlier this year, the group beheaded two Canadian hostages seized from the southern island of Samal. However, it has also freed other captives after ransom money was allegedly paid.
Published : December 12, 2016
By : Deutsche Presse Agentur