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32 Slaughtered by Rebels, Reports Say

World IN BRIEF : ALGERIA

March 23, 1997|From Times Wire Reports

Belying government claims that Algeria is returning to peace, Islamic militants slit the throats of 32 civilians and then beheaded some of them, independent newspapers reported. Armed with sabers and axes, the attackers wreaked havoc Wednesday in a village near Ksar el Boukhari, about 70 miles south of Algiers, two French-language dailies reported. The newspapers said the victims, including 16 women, came from four families. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, which were not reported by the pro-government media. President Liamine Zeroual had said earlier this month that Algeria had "passed its crisis." But less that a week before Wednesday's attacks a series of bombings in and around Algiers had claimed up to 18 lives, hospital sources said.

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