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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Militan Gun Down 5 Russians

ALGIERS -- Five Russians working in Algeria were shot dead Monday in a suburb of the capital, the second mass murder of foreigners in a week.

The attack raised to 49 the number of foreigners killed in Algeria since September, when they became targets of Moslem fundamentalist militants seeking to topple the army-backed government. Last week, assailants slit the throats of seven Italian sailors at the port of Djendjen, provoking rage and grief throughout Italy.

Security officials said the Russians were killed in the Algiers suburb of Oued Ouchayeh, but no further details were available immediately. The victims were not affiliated with the Russian government, police said.

Of the 49 foreigners killed in the past 10 months, 12 have been Russians. Three Russian technicians and eight Algerian security guards were killed May 19 in an attack on a bus.

The Italian merchant sailors were killed by assailants who raided their cargo ship during the night. An Italian legislator in Algeria to follow the investigation of slayings reported that two suspects had been arrested, Italian state TV said Monday.

It said Mirko Tremaglia, head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, reported that the arrested pair confessed and identified the other assailants.

About 4,000 people have been killed in political violence since January 1992, when the military canceled parliamentary elections that the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front was virtually certain to win.

The front was banned and thousands of its supporters detained. In retaliation, fundamentalist guerrillas have waged an insurgency that has included the assassination of scores of political figures, journalists and intellectuals.

Foreigners were declared a target in September in an effort to deprive the government of technical expertise crucial to Algeria's oil-and-gas-based economy. Many foreign governments have urged their citizens to leave Algeria -- the number of Russians was recently cut in half to about 1,110.