Fourteen Algerian soldiers are dead after an attack late Saturday by suspected Islamist militants.

Algeria's state news agency says the soldiers were ambushed in the mountainous Tizi-Ouzou region while returning from security duties related to Thursday's presidential election.

President Abelaziz Bouteflika was elected to a fourth term in the poll despite poor health.

Reuters news agency cites an unnamed security source as saying the attackers are from al-Qaida's north African branch.

The attack occurred in the village of Iboudraren, about 120 kilometers east of Algiers. According to the state news agency, 11 soldiers were killed immediately and three others later died of their injuries.

Algeria fought a war against Islamist militants in the 1990s and continues to deal with periodic militant attacks. Last year, an al-Qaida-affiliated group attacked the Amenas natural gas plant, killing at least 40 foreign workers.