Security forces said on Sunday that the family members were from the village of Merjet al Abed in the Relizan region, about 300 km west of the capital Algiers.

Recent killings have taken place
in the Relizan and Batna regions

In an earlier incident, one man was killed and three others injured when a bomb exploded on Friday in Theniet al Abed, in the region of Batna – about 450 km east of Algiers.

They were killed when they set off a bomb planted on the road, allegedly by armed Islamists, Algerian security sources told the French news agency AFP.

Government troops have also been inflicting casualties. Earlier on Saturday evening they killed six armed Islamists in Guarboussa.

According to news reports and statistics from official statements, the weekend incidents bring the toll to at least 110 people killed in Algeria since the beginning of the month.

Algerian media is speculating that the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) are taking advantage of government troops being diverted for relief work following last month’s major earthquake.

Both rebel groups have increased their offensives in the past month – battling the government in a bid to establish an Islamic republic in Algeria.

Some 150,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in the civil war that began in 1992 when elections which an Islamic fundamentalist party was poised to win was cancelled by the army.