Algeria has announced the death of a regional al-Qaida official in an army ambush.

The report carried by the state news agency Sunday said Bekkai Boualem, in charge of al-Qaida in North Africa's foreign relations, was killed. His identity was confirmed by family members that collected the body.

The army ambush killed him in the mountainous Kabylie region in an ambush Friday.

Boualem joined anti-government militant groups in 1990 and had been fighting them ever since.

Algeria's once fierce militant threat has been largely confined to the Kabylie region east of the capital, though it flourishes in the southern deserts and across the border in northern Mali.

The army announced the killing of another top militant early in October.