Ahmed Gaid Salah’s death comes less than a week after Abdelmadjid Tebboune was sworn in as Algeria’s new president [Fateh Guidoum/AP]

Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaid Salah, Algeria‘s powerful army chief, died at a military hospital in the capital Algiers after suffering a heart attack on Monday.

The 79-year-old was thrust to the front of the national political scene after breaking with longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in late March amid nationwide anti-government protests.

Long considered an ally of Bouteflika, Gaid Salah – who initially backed the president’s controversial bid for a fifth term in office – gave in to demonstrators’ demands and called for the leader’s removal on account of his failing health.

But the septuagenarian’s ties to the political old guard and insistence

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