ALGIERS, (Reuters) – Islamist rebels linked to al Qaeda killed five Algerian soldiers and two municipal guards and wounded 14 soldiers in an ambush east of the capital, local newspapers reported on Saturday.
The rebels opened fire on the troops’ vehicle in a mountainous area of Batna province about 350 km (220 miles) from Algiers late on Wednesday, several daily papers reported, citing unnamed sources.
The authorities were not immediately available for comment, and official media did not report the ambush.
El Watan said Al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb was behind the ambush.
The group, known until last year as Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, has claimed responsibility for several attacks this month including bombing a paramilitary school, killing 48 people, in Boumedres province east of Algiers.
In a separate incident, government troops killed five rebels in a gunbattle on Thursday in Bouira province, some 120 km (75 miles) east of Algiers, according to newspapers.
Violence erupted in Algeria in 1992 after the then military-backed authorities, fearing an Iran-style revolution, scrapped a parliamentary election that an Islamist party was set to win.
More than 150,000 people were killed in the ensuing violence.