Last updated: 20 August, 2011

Algeria Islamist refuses to recognise son’s death

A former Islamic leader in Algeria refused to claim the remains of his son despite being told that a medical expert confirmed the body’s identity, newspaper El-Khabar reported on Friday.

Ali Belhadj, who had been deputy leader of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in the 1990’s, was told by prosecutors in eastern Algeria that one of three men killed in a firefight on July 25 by security forces was his son, Abdelkahar Belhadj.

Officials said his son, a member of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) since 2006, was killed as he was heading for the capital Algiers with a small group of Islamic extremists and that they were plotting a bomb attack.

Ali Belhadj rejected the results of scientific expertise.

“I do not believe the authority’s version,” Belhadj said according to El-Khaber.

Eastern Algeria has been the scene of several deadly attacks this summer.

On Thursday night, three people were killed in the village of El Vir in a gun battle between militants and villagers, a local journalist said.

Militants raided the small town looking to abduct a villager, but were faced with gunfire by locals.

The hostage, his brother and brother-in-law were killed in the battle and two others were injured, hospital sources said.

On Sunday, 33 people — including two Chinese — were injured in a suicide attack in the eastern city of Tizi Ouzou.