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Friday, February 16, 2007


Algiers, 16 Feb. (AKI) - Algerian police killed 26 alleged Islamic militants and arrested 35 suspects in an anti-terror operation on Thursday following a round of deadly attacks in Tizi Ouzu and Bourmedes, in Algeria's eastern Kabylia area, claimed by an al-Qaeda-linked group in Algeria, Arabic satellite television al-Jazeera reported on Friday. The police operation took place in the mountain area of Qashra, near the eastern city of Skikda, where many militants are believed to be hiding.

The Organisation of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb - previously called the Salafite Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) - has claimed responsibility for the series of explosions on Tuesday that killed six and wounded another 20.

Leaders of the terror group are reportedly among the militants killed by police on Thursday.

The GSPC is believed to have recently changed its name to the Organisation of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb after it pledged allegiance last year to the international terror network led by Osama bin Laden.

An Algerian Islamic insurgency started in 1992 after authorities cancelled elections an Islamist party was poised to win.

The insurgency is now conducted by the GSPC with an estimated 500 militants, significantly less than in the 1990s when some 30,000 insurgents operated in the country. Militant strongholds are located in Algeria's mountains and parts of the southern desert
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