A homemade bomb killed five civilians and wounded three others in eastern Algeria on Thursday, the defense ministry said, the deadliest attack targeting civilians in recent years.
The roadside bomb went off as a car drove by in the region of Tebessa, the ministry said in a statement.
“Five citizens died and three others were wounded when a homemade bomb exploded as their car drove in Oueid Khenig-Roum, near the district of Telidjane in Tebessa prefecture,” it said.
It gave no other details on the attack itself.
“Following an ambush in Oued Boudekhane… in Khenchela prefecture, a detachment of the People’s National Armed Forces shot dead… a dangerous terrorist,” the statement said.
The same statement did note that a militant was killed by troops in the neighboring region of Khenchela, but it was not immediately clear if the two incidents were related.
A machine gun, ammunition, and cell phones as well as a radio transmitter were recovered during the operation, the defense ministry said, adding that the operation was still ongoing.
Algerian authorities use the term “terrorist” to describe armed extremists who have been active in the country since the early 1990s.
Between 1992 and 2002, a civil war pitting the army against multiple extremist and militant groups left an estimated 200,000 people dead.
Earlier this month, the ministry said six militants and three Algerian soldiers were killed over two days in separate clashes in the west of the country.
A 2005 Charter for Peace and Reconciliation was supposed to have turned the page on the conflict, but militant groups continue to carry out sporadic operations.
And in December, a clash in the Jijel region east of Algiers killed an army staff sergeant and three suspected militants. The army later announced it had captured a “dangerous terrorist.”
Official media also said late last year that the army had foiled a planned redeployment by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), following the death of their leader.
AQIM’s leader Abdelmalek Droukdel was killed in June by French forces in northern Mali, but was replaced in November by Abu Obaida Yusuf Al-Annabi, a well-known AQIM veteran and Algerian national.
Over the course of last year, 21 extremist militants were killed, nine were captured and seven surrendered during Algerian army operations, the military said in a tally published earlier this month.