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Italian Businessman Wounded in Gun Attack

December 4, 1993

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ An Italian businessman was shot and wounded by unknown assailants Saturday, apparently the latest victim of a terror campaign aimed at foreigners.

Agnello Caftaldo, 43, was leaving his home in Birkhadem, a suburb of Algiers, when a gunman fired at least three shots at him, police said.

He was admitted to the Ain Naadja military hospital for surgery on his face, but his injuries were not life-threatening, hospital officials said.

Caftaldo was president of a joint Italian-Algerian firm. There was no immediate claim for the attack, but it came three days after an ultimatum issued by a radical Muslim group warning the 70,000 foreigners living in Algeria to leave or face death.

On Thursday, Spanish businessman Manuel Lopez Bailen was killed about 60 miles south of Algiers. There was no claim of responsibility.

Lopez was the eighth foreigner killed since Sept. 23, when two French surveyors were murdered.

The Armed Islamic Group and other militant organizations are waging an insurgency against the government, which robbed Muslim fundamentalists of an election victory in Parliament almost two years ago.

Fundamentalist candidates were assured of winning a heavy majority in Parliament when the government canceled the elections, imposed a state of emergency and later banned the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front party.

Armed groups have carried out constant attacks and are the targets of frequent security sweeps.

The latest resulted in the deaths of 17 suspected Muslim radicals Friday, the government announced Saturday. Sixteen were killed in a raid near Blida, 30 miles south of Algiers, and one in Bejaia, 160 miles to the east.

The raids yielded several weapons, but no other details were given including casualties on the government side.

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