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Gunmen kill 2 soldiers, 1 guard in Algeria-paper

Written by: Staff
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ALGIERS, June 29 (Reuters) Suspected Islamist gunmen killed two soldiers and a communal guard in an ambush in eastern Algeria in the latest in a spate of attacks apparently aimed at undermining peace efforts, top selling El Khabar daily said.

Home made missiles known as ''Habhab'' were used during the attack on a security checkpoint in the region of Skikda, 700 km (440 miles) east of the capital Algiers, early yesterday, the newspaper quoting a security source said.

Oil exporter Algeria plunged into conflict in early 1992 after the then military-backed government cancelled a legislative election that radical Islamists were poised to win.

The violence, which has wound down sharply in recent years, cost up to 200,000 lives and 30 billion dollars in economic losses due to a sabotage campaign by Islamic rebels.

Thousands of Islamists guerrillas gave themselves up under a partial amnesty announced in 2000, and around 200 have come down from the hills under the latest amnesty, which entered into force in February and expires in August.

According to officials several hundred guerrillas are believed to remain at large.

REUTERS SHR RAI2121

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