Algeria mourns 65 dead as Mediterranean wildfires spread

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Wildfires tearing through forested areas of northern Algeria have killed at least 65 people, state television reported on Wednesday, as blazes continued to rage for a second day.

At least 25 soldiers died saving residents from wildfires ravaging mountain forests and villages east of Algeria’s capital.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune tweeted that the soldiers were “martyrs” who saved 100 people from the fires in two areas of Kabyle, the region that is home to the North African nation’s Berber population.

Eleven other soldiers were burned fighting the fires, four of them seriously, the Defense Ministry said.

The mountainous Kabyle region, 100 kilometers east of Algeria’s capital of Algiers, is dotted with difficult-to-access villages and with temperatures rising has had limited water.

Some villagers were fleeing, while others tried to hold back the flames themselves, using buckets, branches and rudimentary tools. The region has no water-dumping planes.

The deaths and injuries Tuesday occurred mainly around Kabyle’s capital of Tizi-Ouzou, which is flanked by mountains, and also in Bejaia, which borders the Mediterranean Sea, the president said.—AP

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