Islamist militants ambushed and shot dead five Algerian paramilitary gendarmes southwest of the capital
The five were killed Thursday and a sixth was wounded in the Wednesday attack, in which militants detonated a bomb before opening fire on two police vehicles in Medea province, 100 km (60 miles) from
The assailants took the victims’ weapons and uniforms and fled into a forest after the attack, the independent dailies said, citing local sources and eyewitnesses.
The authorities have not confirmed the reports, and there was no claim of responsibility for the attack, Reuters adds.
A group called Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for most recent attacks in the north African country, which is emerging from more than a decade of violence that broke out in 1992.
The armed group has been weakened by government amnesties to encourage rebels to disarm.
Meanwhile, al Qaeda’s North Africa wing has said it will give
“After the British negotiator’s request for extra time to settle the file, we announce to public opinion that the organisation has decided to give a final additional period of around 15 days from the end of the first period,” the group said in a statement on a website used by al Qaeda-linked groups.
“We call on the family of the British hostage to put pressure on the government and we assure them that this extra time limit will not be repeated…”
The group had said that it would kill the Briton by May 15 if the British government did not release Abu Qatada, a Jordanian Islamist it is holding in prison.
The statement was dated May 20 and it was not immediately clear why the extension had not been announced earlier.
“We are continuing to work for the safe, swift and unconditional release of the hostage,” a spokeswoman for
Abu Qatada, named by a Spanish judge as the right hand man in Europe of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, has been held in
Analysts say the
Tuareg rebellions are simmering in both
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of two Canadian diplomats and four European tourists in the past five months. The two diplomats and two of the tourists were freed in
An Algerian newspaper reported on Saturday that al Qaeda had demanded 10 million euros in exchange for the Briton and a Swiss national it captured in the
Al Qaeda’s chief in the desert region, Hamid Essoufi, also known as Abdelhamid Abu Zeid, was behind the ransom demand, the El Khabar daily cited an unnamed security source as saying.