CAIRO Ñ Algeria's elite forces sustained heavy losses in an Islamic
insurgency attack said to have been aided by Al Qaida.
The attack on late Saturday killed 43 Algerian soldiers.
Algerian newspapers said 39 of the casualties were members of an elite
Algerian sources said the unit attacked by Islamic insurgents over the
weekend was comprised of elite commandos. Earlier, the sources said the
Algerian unit caught in an ambush consisted of militia forces, Middle East Newsline reported.
The attack in the governorate of Batna was attributed to the Salafist
Brigade for Combat and Call, a group aligned with Al Qaida. Algerian sources
said Al Qaida is believed to have trained a 10-member Salafist squad to
carry out the ambush 430 kilometers east of Algiers.
The Salafist attack killed 43 Algerian soldiers.
Another four soldiers were members of the civil guard
The Islamic insurgents used roadside bombs in the ambush against an
Algerian military convoy. The sources said the Salafist attackers killed
virtually the entire Algerian force and seized the weapons from the dead
Algerian sources said Al Qaida provided training and support for the
attack after the military killed a key member of the movement led by Osama
Bin Laden in September. They said Imad Abdul Wahid Ahmed Alwan, a Yemeni
national and head of Al Qaida's North African operations, was killed by
Algerian troops on Sept. 12 in the Batna region.