September 24, 2005

Algerian rebels kill 7 soldiers, 3 civilians-reports

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Al Qaeda-aligned Islamic militants have
killed 10 people, including seven soldiers, in separate
ambushes in Algeria, newspapers reported on Saturday.

The attacks came a week ahead of a national referendum on a
partial amnesty aimed at rebels fighting for a purist Islamic

Suspected rebels detonated a home-made bomb on Thursday
killing seven soldiers and their civilian driver in the Jijel
province, some 350 km (220 miles) east of the capital Algiers,
newspapers, including El Watan, said citing unnamed sources.

Rebels believed to belong to the outlawed Salafist Group
for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), hiding on both sides of the
road, then started firing with automatic weapons on the
military convoy. Four soldiers were also wounded.

Authorities were not immediately available for comment.
They usually do not comment on rebel attacks.

In another attack, some 25 heavily-armed militants staged a
fake roadblock and cut the throats of two civilian after
stopping their car on a road in the east province Skikda,
newspapers said.

Six soldiers were wounded in another bomb explosion on the
same day in Boumerdes province, some 50 km east of Algiers.

The ambushes were blamed on the GSPC, which is split on
whether to support a September 29 referendum on a partial
amnesty in exchange for laying down their arms.

A nationwide insurgency broke out when the army-backed
authorities canceled parliamentary elections that a now-banned
radical Islamist party was poised to win in 1992.

The level of violence has fallen sharply in recent years.