ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian troops killed six armed Islamist fighters in the country’s southeast near the Tunisian border, and captured arms and munitions, the ministry of defense said on Monday.
They were killed in El Oued, and Kalashnikov rifles, handguns and ammunition were recovered from two off-road vehicles, the ministry said in a statement.
Algeria and Tunisia cooperate in security along their frontier, where a small group of fighters from al the Qaeda-linked Okba Ibn Nafaa brigade operates in Tunisia’s Chaambi mountains.
Militants are suspected to have fled there after French troops intervened in 2013 in response to an Islamist insurgency in Mali, which borders Algeria to the north.
A war with Islamist militants killed 200,000 people in Algeria in the 1990s, since when the country has been relatively peaceful.
But Al Qaeda’s North Africa branch and Islamic State continue to operate in remote pockets of the country.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed a rocket attack on Friday on a southern Algerian gas plant operated by BP, Statoil and state energy firm Sonatrach. It caused no damage or casualties, but on Monday the two foreign companies began pulling workers out of gas sites in the country.
Reporting by Patrick Markey; editing by John Stonestreet