ALGIERS: Algeria's coastguard has intercepted almost 300 Algerians off the North African nation's coast as they tried to reach Europe on several boats, the defence ministry said. From Thursday to Saturday, the coastguard "intercepted and rescued a total of 286 Algerian citizens" attempting the perilous crossing on flimsy vessels, it said in a statement. Media reports said 200 of the Algerians were stopped at sea off the western coastal city of Oran. A 2009 law provides for up to six months in jail for those who attempt to leave the Algerian territory illegally. –AFP