URGENT ¥¥¥ Malaysia launches operation to end militant stand-off

Malaysian security forces launched an operation Tuesday to clear out armed Filipino intruders engaged in a deadly three-week stand-off, a government spokesman said.

"The operation to end the occupation began this morning," the spokesman told AFP. A total of 27 people have been reported killed since the militants landed on February 12 in the state of Sabah on Borneo island by boat.