Bombing suggests Al Qaeda remains a threat in Algeria
Counterterrorism efforts by the Algerian government and the US are failing to stem terrorism in the region.
A bomb blast injured 25 people on Sunday in the Algerian town of Tizi Ouzou, which is the latest attack in a string of bombings attributed to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an extremist group that has plagued the country in recent months.Skip to next paragraph
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The explosion took place near a police station in Tizi Ouzou, which is the largest city in the eastern Berber-speaking province of Kabylie. Four of the wounded were policemen, reports Agence France-Presse.
It is unclear whether the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber or a car bomb, but the damage to the site was considerable, according to Reuters.
The explosion dug a big crater in the road beside the police station and damaged nearby buildings. Private news websites described the blast as having been caused by a suicide bomber. There was no immediate confirmation of that.
Algerian police and local officials believe the attack was the work of the North African branch of Al Qaeda, reports Agence France-Presse. The group calling itself AQIM has been responsible for a string of attacks in recent weeks.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, but police have been on heightened alert following several recent attacks by the north African branch of Al-Qaeda.
Last month, a suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up and injured 13 Algerian soldiers in an attack in Lakhdaria, also east of Algiers.
In June, a French engineer and his Algerian driver were killed in a bomb attack in the same area that was also claimed by the group.
AQIM is an outgrowth of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, an Islamist militia organization that was an active player in the Algerian civil war that claimed over 150,000 lives during the 1990s. The Associated Press reports that Tizi Ouzou has been the site of frequent fighting between government security forces and "extremists" ever since.
In 2006, the group changed its name to reflect a new partnership with Al Qaeda. In a July 2007 interview with The New York Times, the only one given to a Western news organization, the group's leader Abdelmalek Droukdel explained his rationale for the alliance.
God ordered us to be united, to be allied, to cooperate and fight against the idolaters in straight lines. The same way they fight us in military allies and economic and political mass-groupings. Why shouldn't we join our brothers while almost all these nations got united against the Muslims and separated them...
Yes, we see that it's our duty to join Al Qaeda so that we can have our fight under one flag and one leadership in order to get ready for the confrontation.