updated 3/2/2008 4:09:10 PM ET 2008-03-02T21:09:10

Two Algerian newspapers say security forces killed 25 suspected members of an al-Qaida affiliate in North Africa in a weekend operation east of the capital.

The two Arabic-language papers, Ech Chourouk and Al Djazair News, said in their Sunday editions that security forces chased some 30 Islamic insurgents planting roadside bombs Friday night back into their refuge.

The papers, which sited unnamed, informed sources, said troops then called in helicopters and assaulted the hideout early Saturday with rockets and helicopter fire, killing 25.

There was no official confirmation of the operation between the Tizi-Ouzou and Bejaie regions.

Hundreds of Algerians are known to have joined the al-Qaida network in the 1990s when the army canceled national elections to thwart a likely Muslim fundamentalist victory.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's 2006 amnesty plan freed thousands of jailed Islamic insurgents in a bid to reconcile the country after years of violence that left an estimated 200,000 people dead.

It continues with sporadic violence that increasingly mimics al-Qaida and is claimed by an Algeria-based al-Qaida affiliate.

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