Algerian minister: Only few terrorists remain

2015-05-21 19:56
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Algiers - Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said on Thursday that "only remnants of terrorism" remained in Algeria, where authorities said 25 Islamist militants had been killed in an army sweep this week.

Special forces were mobilised for the sweep, the minister said. "Only remnants of terrorism are left in Algeria."

Algerian newspapers said several jihadist leaders were among those killed, but there was no official confirmation of this.

Zone of operations

According to the defence ministry, 25 Islamists had been killed since the army launched operations on Tuesday in the mountainous Ferkioua area of Bouira province, east of Algiers.

The sweep came following information that militants were in the area, a zone of operations of Jund el-Khilafa, a local affiliate of the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group.

A judicial source said experts were trying to determine if the dead militants were members of Jund al-Khilafa or of al-Qaeda's North African branch.

Jund al-Khilafa militants kidnapped and beheaded French mountain guide Herve Gourdel last September in Kabylie, east of Algiers, in retaliation for France participating in US-led air strikes against ISIS in Iraq.

Armed groups

Its leader Abdelmalek Gouri was killed in an army operation last December in Issers, 60km east of the capital.

The army says it has now killed 59 armed Islamists since the start of this year, after more than 100 were killed in 2014.

Islamist-linked violence rocked Algeria in the 1990s but has since waned, although armed groups remain active in central and eastern Algeria where they mount attacks on security forces.

Read more on:    algeria  |  north africa

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