Al-Qaeda Claims Killing Algerian Soldiers

Al-Qaeda Claims Killing Algerian SoldiersAl-Qaeda Claims Killing Algerian Soldiers

Al-Qaeda’s North African branch claimed an ambush of an Algerian Army patrol that killed at least nine soldiers, in one of the deadliest such attacks in years.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed the attack in an unverified statement posted online late on Saturday night, AFP reported.

The assault took place in Djebel Louh in Ain Defla province, 140 km southwest of Algiers, on Friday night at the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The military gave a different toll of nine dead and two wounded.

“Members of the People’s National Army immediately proceeded to seal off the area and unleashed a vast operation to flush out and kill the criminals.”

The defense ministry said last week 102 militants were killed, captured or surrendered to security forces in the first half of 2015.

Al-Waeda’s rival faction, the Islamic State, has been gaining ground in neighboring Libya, where a conflict between two rival governments has created a security vacuum.

IS claimed two major attacks on foreign tourists in Tunisia. Authorities say gunmen in the Sousse beach resort attack last month and the March gun assault on the Bardo Museum in Tunis were trained in IS camps in Libya.

But an al Qaeda-allied group Okba Ibn Nafaa has been the most active, mostly along the border with Algeria, carrying out attacks on the military and police. It was also blamed by government for the Bardo attack.