Local officials and Algerian newspapers say al-Qaida-linked militants have ambushed a police convoy escorting Chinese workers, killing at least 21 officers.
The En-Nahar and Es-Chourouk dailies report Thursday that two roadside bombs went off late Wednesday near El Mehir, some 210 kilometers east of Algiers, as a police convoy returned from escorting a group of Chinese construction workers.
A local official told AP at least 21 officers from the Gendarmerie police were killed and three wounded. There was no immediate report of casualties among Chinese workers, or among militants.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because an Algerian emergency law passed in the 1990s forbids local officials from discussing security matters.