Thursday, October 28, 2004

Algerian soldiers have heads cut off

Three Algerian soldiers have had their heads hacked off by "suspected Islamic militants."

Suspected Islamic militants decapitated three soldiers in Algeria in an upsurge of violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, reports said Wednesday. Security forces killed seven alleged militants in an ensuing operation.

La Tribune newspaper said 30 armed men intercepted the soldiers at a roadblock Monday some 90 miles east of the capital Algiers.

The soldiers, one of them a naval officer who was shot first, were beheaded. Two other people, including a police officer, also were killed.

Security forces later killed seven of the suspected assailants, L'Expression reported.

Three suspected militants from the extremist Salafist Group for Call and Combat killed another soldier in an attack Tuesday in the Boumerdes region about 30 miles east of Algiers, the daily El Watan reported. Another soldier was injured and a third escaped.

About 40 people have been killed since the start of Ramadan earlier this month in attacks by suspected militants and security forces' anti-terror operations.

No major acts of violence or assassinations occurred during the holy month last year, the first time that had happened since Algeria's Islamic insurgency erupted in 1992 after the army canceled national elections to thwart a likely victory by Muslim fundamentalists.


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