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Thursday, 4 January, 2001, 14:44 GMT
Algerian violence flares
Algerian soldier
Soldiers have been battling rebels for several years
Up to 15 people are reported killed in the latest two attacks blamed on Islamic rebels in Algeria, according to local press reports - the latest casualties in a wave of violence lasting several weeks.

The reports say 11 soldiers were killed in an ambush on a military convoy, in the Batna region 435km (270 miles) east of Algiers on Wednesday

Four members of the same family had their throats cut in the second reported attack, which occurred in Laghouat, 400km (250 miles) south of Algiers.

Neither attack has been officially confirmed. If all media reports are correct, then 23 people have now died in sectarian violence in Algeria since the beginning of the new year.

Fierce fighting

The latest reports come amid fierce fighting between government soldiers and Islamic militants, in two areas known as rebel strongholds.

The daily paper El Watan reported that crack troops who have been employed against the militants had killed 30 of the rebels over the last three weeks.

The newspaper reported no casualties on the government side, but said the campaign against the rebels was continuing.

Violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan - which ended on 27 December - left more than 300 people dead, most of them civilians.

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See also:

24 Dec 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Algeria's discredited peace
24 Dec 00 | Middle East
'Rebels' kill Algerian singer
21 Dec 00 | Middle East
Amnesty condemns Algeria killings
18 Dec 00 | Middle East
Algeria hit by three massacres
11 Oct 00 | Middle East
Algeria violence kills 24
20 Jul 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Algeria
12 Jul 00 | Middle East
Algerian anti-rebel drive failing
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