The Algerian army has announced the death of five suspected Islamist militants, bringing the total killed in the last three days to nine.

The suspected extremists were killed Saturday in the mountainous Lakhdaria region, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from where a French hiker was kidnapped and beheaded by militants last month.

Since a video surfaced of Herve Gourdel's abduction and later murder, thousands of Algerian soldiers have been combing the mountainous Kabylie area, especially the Djurdjura mountain range where he was taken.

On Thursday, the military announced it had discovered the camp where Gourdel was held.

The kidnappers are a splinter from al-Qaida's North African branch and have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.