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 Thursday, 9 January, 2003, 12:42 GMT
Fifteen killed in Algeria attacks
An unidentified relative looks at a pool of blood
More than 100,000 people have died in the violence
Fifteen people have been killed by suspected Islamic militants in various parts of Algeria.

One of the attacks took place in a mountainous area where the radical Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) is active.

The Algerian Government says the group has links with the Al-Qaeda network.

The BBC's Mohamed Arezki Himeur in Algiers says more than 100 people - most of them members of the security forces - have been killed since Saturday in attacks blamed on Islamic groups.

Civilians too

Eight soldiers died when two home-made bombs were exploded as their convoy drove by in Sidi Ali Bounab, near Tizi Ouzou, in the Kabylie region, on Tuesday morning.

Also on Tuesday, a family of five were killed in the province of Chlef, 200km west of Algiers.

The family, including two young children, a woman and a disabled person, where shot dead at close range.

In a separate attack, a soldier and an armed civilian were killed in Batna, southeast of Algiers.

Our correspondent says that never since the start of the Islamist insurgency in 1992 have so many security forces been killed in successive attacks.

On Sunday, the press reported one of the worst attacks on the army, with more than 40 soldiers killed in an ambush blamed on Islamist rebels near Batna.

The daily El-Watan said it was difficult to accept that an entire platoon of paratroopers could be decimated in such an easy way despite the government's repeated assertions that it has won its war on terror.

Our correspondent says that many in Algeria blame the resurgence of violence on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's policy of national reconciliation.

Al-Qaeda?

The GSPC and the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) have rejected that policy and seem to have stepped up their struggle to have an Islamic state in Algeria.

Algeria has been ravaged by violence since 1992, when the authorities cancelled a parliamentary election which Islamists were poised to win.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Bouteflika came to power pledging to end the long-running civil war

Meanwhile, two members of al-Qaeda are reported to be present in the Kabylie region.

Locals say the two are believed to be from Egypt or the Gulf.

In September last year, security forces killed a Yemeni national thought to have been a senior member of al-Qaeda.

Emad Abdelwahid Ahmed Alwan was reported to be al-Qaeda's top operative in North Africa.

The man, who was killed in an ambush in Batna, was believed to have been sent to Algeria to organise the hardline GSPC.

It is one of the two armed groups fighting the Algerian Government and it is on the United States' list of terrorist organisations.


Islamist uprising

Berber struggle

Economic hardship

Background
See also:

06 Jan 03 | Africa
25 Nov 02 | Africa
23 Nov 02 | Africa
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