A communist guerrilla chief, the target of a massive military operation, said Monday he was releasing six captured soldiers as a "Christmas gift" to their families.

Gregorio Rosal, a rebel field commander in Quezon province east of Manila, also said in a radio interview that his men will observe a unilateral cease-fire on Christmas and New Year's Day.The military meanwhile said 20 guerrillas and seven soldiers were killed in three clashes over the weekend.