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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

At Least 200 Killed in Algiers Massacre

ALGIERS, Algeria -- Attackers shot or stabbed to death at least 200 people and wounded another 100 in a nighttime massacre Tuesday in the latest violence in Algeria, hospital sources said.

The attack took place early Tuesday morning in the Bentalha neighborhood in Baraki in the eastern suburbs of the Algerian capital, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

After the massacre, panicked residents began fleeing toward Algiers about 20 kilometers away. The army sealed the area, and only ambulances and official vehicles were let in.

The official APS government news agency said 85 people were killed and 67 people wounded. The agency condemned the massacre as an "act of barbary," which it said was carried out by "terrorists."

"We kept watch every night since August, but the attack surprised us," said a mother, speaking on condition of anonymity, who was searching for her child at the Zemirli d'El Harrach hospital.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack in Bentalha, a neighborhood considered a stronghold for Islamic militants close to the Armed Islamic Group, one of the most violent of the Moslem organizations trying to overthrow the military-backed government.

The banned Islamic Salvation Front condemned the attack.

According to survivors, who also spoke only on condition of anonymity, the attackers consisted of two groups of about 40 people who took their time in carrying out the killings and plundering the houses before retreating.

A bomb explosion in mid-July in Baraki killed about 20 people and injured 40 more.

In other violence, a bomb attack Tuesday morning in the town of Reghaia, about 30 kilometers east of Algiers killed two people and wounded 25 others, hospital sources said.

Following a recent series of massacres in the capital and in rural villages, frightened civilians have started forming self-defense groups in Algiers and in rural villages to try to prevent increasingly frequent bloodshed.

Armed villagers backed by the army fought off an assault in a village south of the capital, residents reported Tuesday.