Biskra (bēskräˈ) [key], city (1998 pop. 170,956), NE Algeria, at the foot of the Aurès Mts. It is a commercial center for the nomads of the surrounding region. Biskra was the Roman military base of Vescera; later it was an important Muslim town. After 1844 it served as a French base for operations in S Algeria. The surrounding oasis produces dates.