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Seven killed on Algerian beach Tuesday, 4 September, 2001, BBC

The young people were camping on a beach By the BBC's North Africa correspondent David Bamford

Reports from north-eastern Algeria say suspected Islamist militants have attacked a large group of young people who were camping on a beach.

Local authorities say that seven people were killed in what is being described as a brutal attack, and several more were wounded.

They say that Islamic militants are responsible for the murders.

The incident comes amid a wave of recent reports of attacks on young couples by religious conservatives in different parts of the country.

Tales of horror

According to survivors, about 30 young people were camped on the beach at Saraida, just to the west of the town of Annaba.

Five of them who had made their way to their vehicle in a nearby car park were confronted by men wearing police uniforms.

The five became suspicious and began running away, then the armed men opened fire.

The attackers shot three of them dead and wounded the other two.

They then turned their attention onto a young couple, including a 16-year-old girl, who tried to get away in their car.

They were caught and their throats slit.

Then the armed men headed towards the tents on the beach. They began firing, shooting dead a beach guard and one of the campers.

The remaining young people ran off into the darkness and hid in the sand dunes until help arrived several hours later.

Brutal violence

These latest killings, one of a series blamed on the Islamist groups, coincide with a number of attacks on young couples.

An attempt to burn a man and woman alive near Annaba on Saturday only failed because local people heard their cries for help.

The couple are in hospital with serious burns.

Another attack at Tiaret, in the north-west, was more deadly, killing eight people.

The government says those who died were four couples, and their murders the apparent work of religious conservatives.

Algerian militants strike again BBC Wednesday, 5 September, 2001

The latest attack was one in an ongoing wave of attacks By North Africa correspondent David Bamford

Islamic militants in Algeria have raided the seaside resort of Zeralda, 20km west of the capital, Algiers, killing seven civilians and injuring another 11, security forces said.

The incident was another attack in a current wave of attacks on civilians.

The attackers first killed a couple on the beach, before raiding a nearby restaurant where a further five people died, the security officials said.

Zeralda is a popular resort, frequented at this time of year by people on holiday.

It is so close to the capital that it recently hosted some of the hundreds of young people from abroad who attended a International Youth Festival.

No security

The Algerians used the festival as a showpiece to indicate that the security situation was returning to normal after nine years of Islamist insurgency.

Clearly, however, this is not the case.

At the weekend, seven young people who were camping on a beach near Annaba east of Algiers were killed in an attack.

And last Wednesday, a bomb exploded in central Algiers, injuring 34 people.

The upsurge in attacks is no doubt particularly worrying to the authorities, as it comes a few weeks before the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, where there is often an increase in the Islamist violence.

Two separate Islamist groups are being blamed for the attacks - the GIA, west of Algiers, and the GSPC, to the east.

Currently the two groups seem to be engaged in a macabre competition to see who can carry out the most brutal murders.