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Algeria says five militants killed in border clashes with army

The militants were attempting to sneak into Algeria through the southern town of In Guezzam near the Niger border, the defense ministry says

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Five militants were killed and four were wounded Thursday night in clashes with the Algerian army near the Algeria-Niger borders, the Algeria Press Agency (APS) reported on Friday.

The militants were attempting to sneak into Algeria through the southern town of In Guezzam near the Niger border, APS quoted the country’s defense ministry as saying.

The militants were all foreign nationals, including one from Libya, said the ministry, adding that an investigation was under way.

This is the second military operation to happen near the Niger-Algeria border within 24 hour, according to Al Arabiya News Channel.

The news follows the beheading of Frenchman Herve Gourdel by Jund al-Khilafa, or “Soldiers of the Caliphate,” a group linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jund al-Kilafa abducted Gourdel on Sept. 21 and later executed him on video, mirroring ISIS beheadings of hostages in Syria.

North African countries are on high alert over the rise of Islamist militancy in the region. Tunisia is already fighting militants in Mount of Chaambi who reportedly belong to Ansar Al-Shariah, the group that was blamed for the wave of political assassinations in 2013 and the attack against the American Embassy in Tunis. Ansar Al Shariah is also operating in Libya and is similarly accused of being behind 2012 attack on the American consulate there in that country.