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Two Teen-Age Sisters Killed in Latest Attacks on Women

March 16, 1995

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ The bodies of two teen-age sisters were found Thursday with their throats slit, raising to nine the number of young women killed since Islamic militants vowed last week to increase such attacks.

Security officials said armed men broke into the girls’ home overnight in Oum El-Bouaghi, 180 miles southeast of Algiers, and abducted them. The bodies of Soraya Bencherif, 16, and Malika Bencherif, 17, were found about 200 yards from their looted home.

The Armed Islamic Group, one of the groups waging an insurgency against the army-backed government, said last week it would begin attacking female relatives of policemen or soldiers if authorities did not free women jailed for supporting the militants.

The militants also threatened revenge because of a mock trial held by women’s rights activists in Algiers last week, in which fundamentalist leaders were symbolically sentenced to death.

Since then, at least nine women and girls have been killed and several others kidnapped. Some, but not all, were related to policemen or soldiers.

Among the victims was a 15-year-old girl killed Monday after being dragged from her class in a village south of Algiers.

Scores of women are among the estimated 30,000 people killed since the start of an Islamic insurgency three years ago. But women have only recently been designated as a specific target, along with journalists, intellectuals, police and foreigners.

The insurgency began after the military canceled parliamentary elections in January 1992 that a fundamentalist movement was expected to win.

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