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Sunday, 24 December, 2000, 16:18 GMT
'Rebels' kill Algerian singer
Police remove body
Algeria's civil war has claimed over 100,000 lives
Suspected Islamist rebels have reportedly killed a young cabaret singer and kidnapped six people from the discotheque where she was performing.

Witnesses said the singer, known as Sihem, was thrown to the ground and had her throat slit after the attackers stormed the club near the coastal town of Annaba.

The killing was one of 11 reported in Algeria in the past few days, bringing the number of deaths to over 240 during this year's holy month of Ramadan - more than in previous years.

Islamist rebels have stepped up their attacks, dashing hopes for end to Algeria's nine-year civil war, in which more than 100,000 have died.

Amnesty rejected

The rebels have been blamed for the killing of several singers since the start of their campaign against the secular authorities.

Cemetery
Few families have escaped the violence
In the latest incident, the attackers - dressed in military uniforms - seized the cabaret singer and slit her throat open with a sword.

A number of other people at the club are reported to have been badly beaten up, or injured as they jumped from the building to escape.

Survivors of the attack said six people had been taken away by the intruders.

The BBC Middle East correspondent Frank Gardner says the bodies of people kidnapped in such a fashion are usually found mutilated.

Algeria's independent press reported other civilian deaths over the weekend, as well as those of seven rebels shot dead by the security forces.

The violence is mainly blamed on two well-armed rebel groups, which rejected an amnesty offered by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The offer expired a year ago.

Correspondents say some of the fighters who took advantage of the amnesty to lay down their arms, are now joining more extreme rebel factions.

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See also:

24 Dec 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Algeria's discredited peace
21 Dec 00 | Middle East
Amnesty condemns Algeria killings
20 Dec 00 | Middle East
Algerian singer's 'assassins' on trial
11 Oct 00 | Middle East
Algeria violence kills 24
24 Sep 00 | Middle East
Algeria violence returns after lull
20 Jul 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Algeria
13 Jan 00 | Middle East
Analysis: An unstable peace
12 Jul 00 | Middle East
Algerian anti-rebel drive failing
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