Frenchman killed in Algiers

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Tunis - Islamic militants shot dead a French trader in the centre of Algiers yesterday, the official APS news agency said, quoting security forces. APS identified him as Joseph Belaiche, 55. An unidentified young woman was seriously wounded in the attack, in the central Port Said square in the early afternoon.

It was the first killing of a foreigner since the army-backed authorities rejected a conditional peace offer from opposition groups last Wednesday. About 80 foreigners have been killed by Islamic militants in Algeria since September 1983.

As many as 30,000 militants, security personnel and civilians have died in a conflict which broke out after the cancellation of an election in January 1992 that a Muslim fundamentalist party was set to win