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Armed gang kills 31 in Algerian massacre

A band of men armed with knives and axes killed 31 people in an Algerian town south of the capital Algiers, the newspaper El Watan reported.

Some 50 men led the attack just after midnight on Friday, invading a neighbourhood in Medea, and forcing residents into the street where they were killed and then beheaded by a dwarf, the paper quoted residents as saying. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the massacre, but suspicion fell on Muslim militants. A source close to security forces said they believed the 31 were related to a dissident member of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA).

About 310 people are known to have been killed, and some 600 injured, in attacks since the start of the Muslim festival of Ramadan on 10 January.

AP/Reuters - Algiers/Paris