A militant ambush in a forested region of Colo, Algeria, killed at least two soldier on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, according to local media. Google Maps image
COLO, Algeria, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A militant ambush killed at least two soldiers in northern Algeria on Friday, according to reports.
The incident occurred in the northern woods of Colo, in the Skikda province, during an anti-terrorism operation. Local media reported security sources as saying a commander and soldier were killed in the encounter.
Reaction forces, backed by helicopter air support, deployed to track down the militants.
A group of up to 30 armed militants had been reported in the area two weeks ago, according to Xinhua news agency.
The fighting comes after an ambush last month claimed the lives of 11 soldiers in a forested area of Ain Delfa, 150 miles southeast of the capital Algiers.
Though relatively stable, Algeria is home to Islamic extremist groups that operate in the country's remote mountainous regions.
Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb is an Algeria-based Sunni Muslim jihadist group that, according to the U.S. National Counter-Terrorism Center, employs "conventional terrorist tactics, including guerrilla-style ambushes, mortar, rocket, and IED attacks."
In September 2014, Jund al-Khilafah fi Ard al-Jazayer, or "Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria," split from AQIM and declared allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Militants from the IS affiliate in October kidnapped and beheaded 55-year-old Frenchman Hervé Gourdel in Algeria, depicting the execution in an online video. The militants said France had failed to respond to a demand to drop out of the U.S.-led coalition against IS forces in Iraq and Syria.