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Nine Islamist militants 'neutralised' in Algeria: Ministry

AFP , Tuesday 28 Feb 2017
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The Algerian army "neutralised" nine Islamists in the North African country's restive eastern Kabylie region on Tuesday, seizing weapons and ammunition, the defence ministry said.

"An army detachment neutralised terrorists near Azzefoun," a coastal town 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of Algiers, a ministry statement said.

The authorities use the word "terrorist" to describe armed Islamists who have been active in the country since the early 1990s.

A security source told AFP the militants were shot dead following a search near Azzefoun.

Soldiers also seized ammunition, two Kalashnikov assault rifles, a sniper rifle, a shotgun and five hunting rifles, the source said.

Algeria's army has stepped up operations in its mountainous regions in recent months, killing at least 30 armed Islamists since the beginning of the year.

Earlier this month, the army said it had killed 14 Islamists during a major operation in the Bouira region, 125 kilometres (77 miles) southeast of the capital.

Algerians had hoped that a 2005 peace and reconciliation charter would turn the page on a 1991-2002 civil war that cost 200,000 lives.

But Islamist groups remain active in the south and east, largely targeting security forces.

On Sunday evening, the police foiled a suicide attack targeting a police station in Constantine that was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

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