Algeria forces strike rebels after soldiers killed - UPDATED

Militants killed 11 Algerian soldiers in an ambush during a patrol in mountains east of the capital Algiers on Sunday.

Algeria forces strike rebels after soldiers killed - UPDATED

World Bulletin/News Desk

Three Algerian army soldiers on Sunday succumbed to injuries they had sustained in an ambush attack on their patrol in northern Algeria a day earlier, bringing the death toll to 14, according to the state-run news agency.

"As many as 11 soldiers died instantly while three others succumbed to their injuries," the agency quoted an unnamed security source as saying.

The army has launched a major operation to track down the attackers, he added.

The army patrol was returning to base after participating in securing Thursday's presidential polls, according to the source.

Earlier in the day, a security source had told Anadolu Agency that militants had attacked an army patrol combing a mountainous area in the northern province of Tizi Ouzou, killing 11 soldiers.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which came only one day after preliminary results showed incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as the winner of Thursday's polls.

Interior Minister Tayeb Belaiz said on Friday that Bouteflika secured 8.3 million votes, representing 81.53 percent of the vote, handing him a fourth 5-year term in office.

Provinces east of Algiers are thought to be strongholds for militants associated with the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb group.

Experts say that the group's leader, Abdelmalek Droukdel, otherwise known as Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud, is leading operations against security forces in the area.

Some 220 militants were killed in Algeria between January and November of last year, according to unofficial tallies by the independent Commission for Truth, Peace and Reconciliation.

Rebels killed

The Algerian army announced on Sunday killing three militants who were part of a "terrorist group" that had ambushed an army patrol in the northern province of Tizi Ouzou a day earlier.

"The area was cordoned off immediately after the attack [on the army patrol]," the Defense Ministry said in a statement on its website.

"The Operation led to the killing of three terrorists and the seizure of two Kalashnikov rifles," the ministry added, noting that the operation is still ongoing with the aim of killing other "terrorists".

The ministry denied an earlier report by the official news agency that 14 soldiers were killed in the ambush.

It insisted that 11 soldiers were killed and five others were wounded.

Last Mod: 21 Nisan 2014, 09:32
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