Algeria launches search-and-destroy op against Salafists

Monday, November 10, 2003

CAIRO —Algeria's military has launched a new search-and-destroy operation against a major insurgency group with ties to Al Qaida.

The search-and-destroy operation has taken place in several areas of Algeria. So far, about 20 insurgents have been killed over the last week, some of them near the border with Morocco.

Over the weekend, 10 insurgents were killed in two separate military operations in an offensive called Dafdaa. In the Ghelesan province west of Algiers, troops killed two insurgents and captured machine guns, night-vision and communications equipment.

In the southern governorate of Saideh, troops killed eight insurgents and detained another three, Middle East Newsline reported. Algerian security sources said eight machine guns were captured.

In a separate development, the Polisario Front has released 300 Moroccan prisoners of war that had been held in southwestern Algeria. The official Algerian APS news agency said the 300 — some of them held for more than 20 years — were captured during the insurgency war in Western Sahara. Polisario was said to be holding another 600 Moroccan prisoners.

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