Algiers - The North African branch of al-Qaeda on Sunday claimed responsibility for an attack that killed at least nine Algerian soldiers on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghrib (AQIM) said in a statement published online that it had carried out the attack on Thursday evening in the Ain Defla department west of the capital, Algiers.
It claimed that 14 soldiers were killed and arms and materiel captured.
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An army statement also released on Sunday said nine troops had been killed and two injured in the attack in the Djebel Elouh area of Ain Defla.
The military said it was combing the area for the militants involved.
AQIM is based mainly in Algeria and the north of neighbouring Mali, where it has been fighting Malian troops and French and UN forces.
Algeria has long fought Islamist insurgents who hide out in the country's forests and mountains.