The death toll in Algeria from wildfires that broke out east of the capital has risen to 42, including 25 soldiers, the government said late Tuesday.
Several Algerian provinces have for days witnessed outbreaks of massive fires that were exacerbated because of a severe heatwave and hot and strong southern winds.
Earlier Tuesday, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said that 25 military personnel died while rescuing more than 100 people from fires in the eastern part of the country.
"With great sadness and sorrow, I received the news of the martyrdom of 25 members of the People's National Army," Tebboune tweeted.
He emphasized that they were killed "after they succeeded in rescuing more than 100 citizens from the blazing fires, in the mountains of Bejaia and Tizi Ouzou."
He extended his "condolences to all the families of the martyrs."
Turkey's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun expressed sadness over Algeria's loss and expressed his country's support.
"I was deeply saddened by the devastating loss of 25 soldiers in Algeria, who lost their lives whilst saving locals from wildfires," Altun said on Twitter. "I pray for Algeria's sons tonight and offer my heartfelt condolences to their families. Turkey stands with Algeria -- our friend and ally."
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also released a condolence message.
“We are saddened to receive the news that due to the wildfires in many provinces of Algeria, many civilians and 25 soldiers who have participated in the evacuation operations lost their lives,” the ministry said in a statement.
“We wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives and convey our condolences to the friendly and brotherly people and the Government of Algeria,” it said.
On Tuesday, the Algerian Civil Protection Department said at least seven people were killed and several injured as wildfires spread to 36 locations across 18 provinces.
It was also reported that 19 fires started in Tizi Ouzou, with the rest in the country's central regions, mostly in the east./agencies