Former Official Slain in Algeria; Leaders Blame Extremists

Associated Press

A former education minister who opposed Muslim fundamentalists was shot to death Tuesday, and the labor minister was injured in a separate attack, authorities said.

Prime Minister Belaid Abdesselam said the nation's military-backed rulers will take new measures against "escalating terrorism" by Islamic extremists, blamed for the deaths of more than 300 people over the past year.

The ruling Council of State blamed the extremists for the fatal ambush of Djilali Liabes, 45, the former minister of higher education.

"New measures against terrorism will be taken by the state to end this catastrophe," Abdesselam said on television after a visit with Liabes' family.

He did not specify what the measures would be.

In the other attack, Labor Minister Tahar Hamdi was slightly injured in an attack in Algiers, Algeria's capital, the Communications Ministry said.

Fundamentalists have been suppressed since the army-backed government canceled 1992 legislative elections that the radicals were likely to win.

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