Algeria bombing stirs new fears of Al Qaeda-aligned terrorist group
Tuesday's bombing may discredit the Algerian government's claims of success against the 'Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb' terrorist group.
At least 47 people have died and many more were wounded in twin bomb blasts in the center of Algiers Tuesday morning, breaking a month-long lull in a stream of militant attacks this year in Algeria. While no group has yet taken responsibility for the attacks, previous high-profile bombings have been claimed by a local militant group that allied itself to Al Qaeda last year.Skip to next paragraph
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The two car bombs may have also wounded up to 43 people, reports the Guardian.
Security officials have warned that the death toll from the attack - the bloodiest since Algeria's ten-year civil war ended in 2002 - could top 60.
The first car bomb was driven into the constitutional court building in the Ben Aknoun district of Algiers, killing 30 people. Algeria's official news agency said several of the victims were students travelling on a school bus.
Ten minutes later, the second car bomb was driven into the UNHCR - the UN's refugee agency - in the upmarket Hydra neighbourhood, killing at least 15. The UN said some members of staff were injured and the building damaged.
Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni said the second blast was triggered by a suicide bomber, reports Agence France-Presse.
According to the British Broadcasting Corp., part of the UN building was destroyed and "it was feared people were trapped."
Throughout 2007 there have been a series of bomb attacks across Algeria in which scores of people have died.
Those blasts have been claimed by members of al-Qaeda's North Africa wing, calling themselves al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The militant group was previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) but changed its name when it joined forces with al-Qaeda last year.
This is at least the 11th bombing in Algeria this year, according to a timeline compiled by Reuters.
The bombing follows a month-long lull in attacks, which many observers in Algeria and Europe believed was a sign of the success of Algerian security forces against militants. In November, Algerian online daily Echorouk reported that the death toll from terrorist attacks had dropped to its lowest level.
Security observers believe that the decrease in the number of victims in November show that terrorists have been weakened by Algerian security forces.
Terror support cells have been dismantled and a number of prominent terrorists belonging to Al-Qaeda have been killed.
At the same time, a crisis has been triggered inside the terrorist organization.
Some conflicts inside Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were due to the strategy of suicide attacks that was opposed by the so-called lawyers of armed Islamic groups including Muntaser Al Zayat and Tartousi.