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Feb 17, 10:35 AM EST

14 killed in Algerian army anti-extremist operation

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ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- Algeria's government says military forces have killed 14 suspected extremists in an ongoing operation in one of the country's last Islamic militant holdouts.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that nine were killed Friday and five others Wednesday around Bouira, 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of the capital, Algiers. Security forces found three semi-automatic rifles, five pistols and munitions in accompanying raids.

It said the operation was still underway Friday as an effort to "bring to an end these criminal groups and the plague of terrorism in our country."

Algeria's government has been cracking down on extremist fighters believed to be linked to the Islamic State group, which has tried to expand in Algeria, and al-Qaida's Algeria-based North Africa branch.

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