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Two Algerian soldiers killed in clash with jihadists: ministry

Two soldiers were killed in the clashes [File Photo: Getty]

Date of publication: 3 January, 2021

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A clash between jihadists and Algerian soldiers left two troops dead on Saturday, authorities said.
Two Algerian soldiers were killed on Saturday in a clash with jihadists, four of whom were also killed, the defence ministry said.

"During a search operation... a detachment of the People's National Armed Forces shot dead four terrorists" west of the capital, a ministry statement said.

It identified the soldiers killed in the Tipaza district as a sergeant and a corporal, in one of the deadliest such clashes in recent years.

Several firearms were recovered, the ministry said, adding that the operation was still underway.

Between 1992 and 2002, a civil war pitting the army against multiple Islamist and jihadist groups left an estimated 200,000 people dead.

A 2005 Charter for Peace and Reconciliation was supposed to have turned the page on the conflict, but jihadist groups continue to carry out sporadic operations.

Read also: Ousted Algeria leader's 'secret child' loses appeal against jail

Last month, a clash in the Jijel region east of Algiers killed an army staff sergeant and three suspected jihadists. The army later announced it had captured a "dangerous terrorist".

Official media said at the time that the army had foiled a plan for the redeployment of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group following the death of their leader.

The Algerian jihadist, Abdelmalek Droukdel, had been killed in June by French forces in northern Mali.

The SITE Intelligence group, which monitors jihadist groups, said in November that another Algerian, Abou Oubaida Youssef al-Annabi, had been appointed to replace Droukdel.

Over the course of last year, 21 Islamist militants were killed, nine were captured and seven surrendered during Algerian army operations, the military said in a tally published on Saturday.

A statement added that the army had arrested 108 people who had provided support to the militants last year, as well as seizing dozens of firearms, while experts neutralised nearly 400 bombs and mines.

An army tally for 2019 indicated that 15 Islamist militants had been killed and 25 captured while 44 surrendered.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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