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Five Soldiers Shot Dead in Algeria

November 7, 1999

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ Five soldiers were killed in two separate attacks by suspected Islamic militants in Algeria, media reports said Sunday.

Three soldiers were shot and killed in a shop east of Algiers, and another two were killed in a mortar attack on an army barracks south of the capital, the reports said. Both attacks occurred late Friday, and there was no claim of responsibility.

In the first attack, armed gunmen burst into a shop in the coastal town of Le Figuier, 25 miles east of the capital, opening fire on a crowd, including several soldiers. Eight other people, all civilians, were wounded, the newspaper Liberte reported.

The same night, armed men attacked an army barracks in Ain Tarek, 250 miles west of Algiers, the newspaper El Watan reported. The mortar attack lasted several hours, ending when the assailants fled into nearby mountains when reinforcements arrived.

The Islamic insurgency, which began in 1992, has claimed 100,000 lives in Algeria. The violence broke out after the army canceled legislative elections the now-banned Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win.

In September, Algerians overwhelmingly voted in favor of a peace plan that would reintegrate Islamic militants into society. Insurgents who turn themselves in to authorities are to be granted partial amnesty and reduced jail terms as long as they are not guilty of rape, murder or bombings.

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