April 4, 2010 / 11:43 AM / 9 years ago

Rebels kill seven Algerian security guards: reports

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Islamist rebels ambushed and killed at least seven Algerian security guards working for a Turkish company in the worst such attack in months, newspapers reported on Sunday.

The guards came under fire in their vehicle late on Saturday in the mountainous region of Kabylie, Liberty and Ennahar dailies said, citing security sources.

A soldier was killed an hour later in the same place after a bomb was detonated from a distance, El Watan newspaper said.

The guards were working for private security firm SPAS under contract to state electricity and gas company Sonelgaz.

They were providing security for workers from a Turkish company working on a high-voltage electricity line near Bejaia, some 250 km (156 miles) east of Algiers. There were no reported Turkish victims and newspapers did not name the Turkish firm.

Authorities were not immediately available for comment on the attack and there was no claim of responsibility.

It was the deadliest reported attack since October 22 when rebels killed seven guards working for Canadian company SNC Lavalin in Tizi Ouzou province, also part of the Kabylie area, where al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has its stronghold.

A conflict between security forces and Islamist rebels reached a peak in the 1990s after authorities cancelled elections an Islamist party was poised to win.

Violence has subsided since then, but there have been some attacks on civilians, government forces and foreigners for which the north African wing of al Qaeda has claimed responsibility.

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