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Algeria army recovers Stinger missiles from slain jihadists

File picture shows Algerian security forces near the city of Ghardaia, in the region of Guerrara where at least 22 people have died in fighting between Berbers and Arabs
Farouk Batiche (AFP/File)
The operation on the Tunisian border also recovered suicide belts, rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikovs

Algerian troops recovered six Stinger shoulder-fired ground-to-air missiles in an operation near the Tunisian border in which three suspected jihadists were killed, the defence ministry said on Friday.

The missiles, made famous by their use by the mujahideen against Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s and Washington's subsequent multi-million dollar program to buy them back to stop them falling into the hands of Al-Qaeda, were seized along with an array of other weaponry.

They included suicide belts, rocket-propelled grenades and 20 Kalashnikov assault rifles, the ministry said.

The operation took place in the Guemar district of El Oued province, around 600 kilometres (375 miles) southeast of Algiers, on Thursday evening.

Algeria suffered a civil war in the 1990s between the government and Islamists that killed 200,000 people.

Despite adopting a peace and reconciliation charter in 2005 aimed at turning the page on the conflict, armed groups remain active in the centre and east of the country.

Neighboring Tunisia has also seen an upsurge in Islamist violence since the overthrow of veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in the Arab Spring revolution of 2011, with 49 jihadists killed this week alone.



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