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3 SOLDIERS DECAPITATED IN UPSURGE OF VIOLENCE

Suspected Islamic militants decapitated three soldiers in Algeria in an upsurge of violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, reports said Wednesday. Security forces killed seven alleged militants in an ensuing operation.

La Tribune newspaper said 30 armed men intercepted the soldiers at a roadblock Monday about 90 miles east of the capital, Algiers.

The soldiers, one of them a naval officer who was shot first, were beheaded. Two other people, including a police officer, also were killed.

Security forces later killed seven of the suspected assailants, L'Expression reported.

Three suspected militants from the extremist Salafist Group for Call and Combat killed another soldier in an attack Tuesday in the Boumerdes region about 30 miles east of Algiers, the daily El Watan reported. Another soldier was wounded, and a third escaped.

About 40 people have been killed since the start of Ramadan earlier this month in attacks by suspected militants and security forces' anti-terrorist operations.

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