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Algerian rebels kill 26 in two days

ALGIERS, Algeria -- Suspected Islamic rebels have killed 16 people in western Algeria.

The killings bring to 26 the number of civilians killed in two days, the official APS news agency reported on Saturday.

APS, quoting a terse security statement, said the victims were "cowardly assassinated by a group of terrorists" on Friday night on a road near the village of Sidi Lakhdar in Ain Defla province.

It gave no further details.

"Terrorist" is the word used by the official media and government officials to refer to Muslim fundamentalists who have been waging a bloody insurgency for the past nine years.

On Thursday night, another group of "terrorists" killed at least 10 people in Medea province, just south of Algiers.

More than 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Algeria since 1992.

The violence broke out after the military-backed authorities cancelled a general election a now banned Muslim fundamentalist party was poised to win.

Despite an amnesty granted to Islamic insurgents by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika two years ago, attacks against civilians and government forces have continued.

Nearly 700 people have died in the violence so far this year, according to independent media reports.

• Front Islamique du Salut
• HMS/ MSP Party Algeria

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