ALGIERS, July 27 (KUNA) -- Algerian troops have killed 22 members of what is called "Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb" in the village of Yakourene in the Tizi Ouzou State, 110 km east of Algiers.
Security sources said on Friday the army units were recovering the dead bodies noting that the security bodies had identified 14 of them. A Moroccan, Mohammed Redha Balhashmi, was one.
The army used military engineering units to help them make way into the tangled forest where more than 60 Al-Qaeda members were hiding for two weeks, the source said.
The attacking troops also found huge sums of money and quantities of gold thought to have been the outcome of robberies the militants had carried out in the area.
In a related development, the second man in the Islamic Salvation Front, Ali Belhadj denied in a press release today that he had contacted his son, Abdul-Kahhar Belhadj, member in the armed group under siege in Yakourene, by phone.
Fighting began on July 14 when the army foiled an al Qaeda attack on two police stations in Yakourene and the 60 of the militants escaped to the nearby forest. (end) ft.msa KUNA 272358 Jul 07NNNN