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Al Qaeda terrorists murdered two soldiers in Algeria in an execution-style killing. A terror cell ambushed a bus of soldiers in eastern Algeria and forced the two soldiers off the vehicle, then shot them to death.

The incident occurred against the backdrop of a battle that has been taking place between the international terror organization and the Algerian army over the past several weeks.

A key leader of the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) branch of the terror group that operates in the country was killed a week ago in northern Algeria. His identity was confirmed by his family, who collected his body from the hospital at Tizi Ouzou, according to the APS news agency, quoting local officials.

The death of Boualem Bekai, 45, whose nom de guerre was Khaled al-Mig, was considered a “big blow” for Al Qaeda in the area, the BBC reported. Bekai was reportedly the “number two” operative in the AQIM organization, formed in 2007 and led by Abdelmalek Droukdel. The group also operates in Mali, Mauritania an Niger, and has begun to form bases in Libya.

Earlier this year, AQIM terrorists kidnapped Algerian regional governor Mohamed Laid Khelfi in one of the most brazen operations in the country in a decade. The abduction of the Illizi governor from his car, who was spirited away to a hideout on the Algerian border with Libya, was seen as an escalation of terror emerging as a result of the Libyan revolt that overthrew dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi.

Libya's National Transitional Council, which sought to establish a new government, held elections and installed a new leadership. But the new government has yet to disarm those rebels who were loathe to give up their weapons, and the vacuum left in the wake of Qaddafi's overthrow has left plenty of opportunity for the growth and entrenchment of Al Qaeda in the country – just as Qaddafi warned the international community prior to his demise.