Algiers, Jan 07 (Agencies): Rioting youths set buildings and tires ablaze and hurled stones at police in the Algerian capital over rising food prices and chronic unemployment.

Security officers filled the tense working-class Algiers neighbourhood of Bab el-Oued on on Thursday after riots on Wednesday night.

A police station and a mobile telephone store were among the buildings set on fire before police intervened to stop the violence near the city's ancient Casbah.

The violence came after price hikes for milk, sugar and flour in recent days and amid simmering frustration that Algeria's abundant gas-and-oil resources have not translated into broader prosperity.

Food price riots also hit Algeria's Mediterranean city of Oran this week.

Algeria is still recovering from an insurgency that ravaged the country throughout the 1990s after the Army canceled 1992 elections that fundamentalists were expected to win.

Bab el-Oued in Algiers is a former stronghold of that group, the now-banned Islamic Salvation Front, or FIS.

Neighbouring Tunisia has also seen violent protests in recent weeks over unemployment, leading to three deaths.

The unrest in Tunisia began when a young man set himself on fire December 17 in the Sidi Bouzid region after police confiscated the fruits and vegetables he sold without a permit.

The man had a university degree but no steady work, and his hardship resonated with many in Tunisia, where unemployment stands at 14 per cent but is much higher outside the capital.