ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria's Defense Ministry has confirmed the deaths of nine soldiers in a militant ambush — a statement that came after reports of higher casualties in the attack.
The Friday forest ambush blamed on Islamic extremists in the rugged Ain Defla province southwest of the capital of Algiers comes after a string of successes by the army against the country's long-running insurgency.
Sunday's statement said the army conducted search operations after the attack, which also wounded two soldiers. It said the ambush only reinforced the army's determination to stop the militants.
Al-Qaida's North Africa branch claimed responsibility for the attack, putting the toll at 14 and saying it came after army claims that the insurgency had been defeated.
Algeria has been fighting Islamic radicals, largely in remote areas, since the 1990s.