Algerian army foils Qaeda attack, kills 4: papers

ALGIERS Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:56am EDT

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ALGIERS (Reuters) - The Algerian army halted an attack by Al Qaeda militants and killed four in the troubled northeastern Kabylie region, newspapers reported on Sunday.

About 50 members of the Al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb attacked two police stations in Yaourene village in Tizi Ouzou province, about 100 km (60 miles) east of Algiers, early on Saturday, El Watan and Liberte dailies said.

Well-armed, the militants surrounded the police stations and clashed with security forces for two hours before fleeing after the intervention of helicopters, the newspapers said, citing residents and security sources.

Before the attack, the group planted five bombs on a road leading to the stations targeting any reinforcements by government forces. Two of them exploded without causing casualties, the newspapers added.

The attack came three days after a suicide bomber killed eight government soldiers inside an army barracks in the neighboring province of Bouira in an attack claimed by al Qaeda.

The barracks bombing followed a triple suicide attack that killed 33 people in Algiers on April 11. Those attacks were also claimed by al Qaeda's north Africa wing.

Up to 200,000 people have been killed in Algeria since 1992 after military-backed authorities scrapped parliamentary elections that an Islamist party was poised to win.

The violence has subsided in recent years but some bloodshed continues mainly in Kabylie and nearby areas.

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