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Friday, 24 August, 2001, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Toll rises in Algeria attack
Funeral for Algerians massacred in Ain Tagourait
The numbers continue to rise
By North Africa correspondent
David Bamford

The number of victims killed in the latest attack in Algeria by suspected Islamist militants has risen to 17.

The attack took place on an isolated mountain road 350 km west of Algiers on Wednesday night, but full details have only just reached the capital.

They come as the Algerian Government is considering whether to give political support to moves by a former defence minister to sue a French television channel.

It follows allegations that senior Algerian military officers are implicated in the killings blamed on Islamists.

Attack

There have been conflicting reports about the attack by suspected Islamists on the road in the Beni Chougran mountains.

Hospital officials now say that 17 people died, mostly by having their throats slit, when they were captured by insurgents who had set up a false road block.

Several wounded are being treated in the local hospital at Mohammedia.

This region has been particularly prone to such attacks recently.

Another 17 people were killed in a similar road block incident nearly two weeks ago.

The main Islamist rebel group, the GIA, have been blamed for the attack.

More than a hundred thousand people have been killed in the insurgency war since it began following the 1992 election, when the military intervened to prevent an imminent victory by moderate Islamists.

Military accused

Allegations that dark forces within the senior military ranks continue to stoke the Islamist violence, have frequently been made.

These have been further encouraged by the publication of a book in France by a former Algerian officer, Habib Souaidia, who claims first hand knowledge of such involvement.

Both he and the French television channel on which Mr Souaidia was interviewed are to be sued for defamation in the Paris courts by a former defence minister, General Khaled Nezzar.


algerian timeline puffobx
See also:

07 Jul 01 | Middle East
Algeria violence kills 16
05 Jul 01 | Middle East
Algeria shuts out Berber protesters
24 Sep 00 | Middle East
Algeria violence returns after lull
13 Jan 00 | Middle East
Analysis: An unstable peace
12 Jul 00 | Middle East
Algerian anti-rebel drive failing
20 Jul 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Algeria
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