LGIERS, Algeria - A group linked to al-Qaida staged seven near-simultaneous
bomb attacks Tuesday, targeting police in several towns east of Algiers and
killing six people, officials said.
Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa - the
new name for the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, known by its French acronym
GSPC - claimed responsibility for the attacks in a telephone call to the
Al-Jazeera television network and in a statement on the Internet. The group
allied itself with al-Qaida last year, raising the stakes in the region's fight
A police officer patrols near a damaged house in Si-Mustapha,
near Boumerdes, 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the capital, Algiers,
Tuesday Feb.13, 2007 after a bomb exploded in the middle of the town,
wounding five policemen. A wave of bombings mostly targeting police killed
six people and injured nearly 30 others in Algeria on Tuesday, according
to the official news agency and police and hospital staff. [AP]
The seven bombings, some of them car explosions, hit the Kabylie region east
of Algiers between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. Tuesday, the state news agency said.
The apparently coordinated attacks surprised the North African country, which
has steadily emerged from an Islamic insurgency that killed more than 150,000
people in the 1990s. While scattered violence by the GSPC continues, such
carefully planned strikes are rare in today's Algeria, an ally in the US-led war
The attackers' statement claimed casualties were much higher and accused the
Interior Ministry of playing down the impact. The statement said the attacks
targeted six police stations and "ended successfully."
The bombings quashed Algerian authorities' claims that the GSPC lately had
grown weaker, said Mohamed Darif, a terrorism expert at Morocco's Mohammedia
"This is to show that (the GSPC) is still capable of launching attacks in the
heart of Algeria," Darif said.
The Interior Ministry said six people were killed, including two police
officers, according to the state news agency. The ministry also reported 13
wounded, and said 10 of them were police.
Police and hospital staff put the number of wounded at 30.
"I was wakened by a terrific crash that shattered the windows of my house,"
said Yassine, who lives near a police station that was targeted in the town of
Boumerdes. He asked that his last name not be published because he feared for
"I went outside and found the facade of the police station in ruins, with the
carcass of a bombed car next to it."
The attack was not the first in Boumerdes. "The Islamists have always used
this area as a hideout," Yassine said. "Lately we thought things had calmed
Although down to a few hundred members, the GSPC carries out regular bomb
attacks in Algeria and raises funds in Europe for al-Qaida's operations in Iraq.
In December, the group staged a bomb attack on buses carrying foreign workers of
an affiliate of US energy services giant Halliburton, killing an Algerian bus
driver and wounding nine people.