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Published: Sunday July 13, 2014 MYT 8:43:57 PM
Updated: Sunday July 13, 2014 MYT 8:43:57 PM

Bomb attack kills seven members of Algeria's security forces

ALGIERS (Reuters) - A bomb killed seven members of Algeria's security forces, the defence ministry said on Sunday, the second deadly attack in the country in four months.

Militants attacked a military convoy in Sidi Bel Abbes province in western Algeria late on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement. Three soldiers and four municipal guards were killed.

The statement said "terrorists" carried out the attack, a term used by the authorities to refer to Islamist militants.

Violence and militant attacks are rarer since Algeria ended its decade-long 1990s war with armed Islamists, but the North African branch of al Qaeda and other militants are still active, especially in the south where desert borders are porous.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, as the regional al Qaeda branch is known, also carries out sporadic attacks in the north. It killed at least 14 soldiers in an ambush in April in a mountains east of the capital Algiers.

The municipal guards, whose members were among those killed in Saturday's attack, is part of a security body set up by the interior ministry in the 1990s to help fight Islamist militancy.

Algerian officials are concerned about spillover from the turmoil in neighbouring Libya, where fighters linked to al Qaeda take refuge in the southern deserts.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

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