Reuters International

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian troops killed six Islamist fighters during a large-scale military operation in a forested area east of the capital, the ministry of defence said on Saturday.

Attacks and bombings are rare now since Algeria emerged from its 1990s war with armed Islamists, but small groups of fighters allied to al Qaeda's North Africa branch are active in remote areas to the east and the south.

The six were killed during an army sweep through the d'Errich forest in Ain Turk in the Bouira region, the ministry said in a statement posted by APS state news agency.

The army said it had killed eight and captured one in total during the operation which began on May 17.

Last week the army also killed seven suspected Islamist fighters in Lakdaria, also in Bouira province.

More than 200,000 people died in Algeria's civil war with armed Islamists in the 1990s, until President Abdelaziz Bouteflika negotiated an amnesty deal with several fronts of fighters, leaving others in the mountains.

(Reporting by Patrick Markey; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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