January 29, 2016 / 7:15 PM / 3 years ago

Algerian forces kill four Islamist fighters: ministry

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian troops killed four Islamist gunmen west of the capital on Friday, the defense ministry said, adding they were part of a group who left nine soldiers dead in an ambush last year.

A ministry statement cited by state news agency APS said the four were “neutralized” in Ain Defla province and arms, munitions and grenades were recovered.

“The four terrorists who were taken out today were part of the same group who carried out the attack on our soldiers,” it said in a reference to the July 2015 attack.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for that attack, also in Ain Defla.

Algeria emerged as one of the most stable countries in the region after its 1990s war with Islamist groups and has become a key ally in the Western campaign against Islamist militancy in the region.

But al Qaeda-allied fighters and a splinter group loyal to Islamic State are still active, mostly in remote mountain areas and desert border regions.

Reporting by Patrick Markey; editing by Andrew Roche

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