Islamic militants killed eight Algerian soldiers in two separate attacks on Sunday, days after seven people died in roadside bombs, an Algerian newspaper reported on Monday.

Rebels detonated a bomb as a military truck passed through Stah Aftis village near the border town of Tebessa, 700 km (435 miles) east of Algiers, killing five soldiers and wounding four, daily El Khabar quoted an unnamed local source as saying.

Three soldiers were also shot dead by Islamic militants at an impromptu checkpoint in Bordj Menail in Boumerdes region just east of the capital, an Al Qaeda stronghold, the paper said.

The off-duty soldiers were in civilian clothing and riding a bus when it was stopped by Islamist rebels disguised as soldiers, said El Khabar. The rebels ordered everyone off the bus for what they said was a routine check.

When one of the soldiers told them “we are your colleagues”, the militants shot them dead on the spot, the Arabic language daily cited an unnamed source as saying.

The attacks bring to 15 the number of people reported killed by Islamist rebels since February 12, when President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said he would stand in elections to seek a third term in office. They also follow a period of relative calm.

Al Qaeda’s north African wing, formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), has claimed responsibility for a string of bombings and attacks in the OPEC member country in recent years.



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