Suicide bomb kills 28 in Algeria

10th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

DELLYS, Algeria, Sept 10, 2007 (AFP) - Algeria was rocked by its second suicide bombing in three days on Saturday as a car bomb ripped through a naval barracks in the northeast of the country, killing at least 28 people.

DELLYS, Algeria, Sept 10, 2007 (AFP) - Algeria was rocked by its second suicide bombing in three days on Saturday as a car bomb ripped through a naval barracks in the northeast of the country, killing at least 28 people.

Around 60 people were injured in the attack in the port town of Dellys 70 kilometres (45 miles) east of Algiers, medical sources told AFP. Most of the dead were members of the naval coastguard but civilians were among the injured.

A van normally used to deliver supplies to the barracks smashed through the rear entrance and penetrated 20 metres (yards) inside the base before exploding, according to witnesses.

The vehicle with Algiers number plates was seized beforehand, packed full of explosives and its driver kidnapped, according to preliminary indications.

A local police official organising the airlifting of the injured by helicopter of the injured said the death toll could rise significantly.

The force of the explosion flattened most of the prefabricated buildings that make up the barracks.

Wood, metal and concrete debris as well as clothing and suitcases were strewn hundreds of metres (yards) around the port as a mass of ambulances with sirens wailing picked up the wounded and helicopters buzzed overhead.

Access to Dellys was blocked off and a security cordon thrown around the port as anti-terrorist police sifted through the rubble.

Former colonial power France immediately condemned the attack, one of the deadliest in the north African country since April and the second in three days.

On Thursday a suicide bombing killed 22 people and wounded more than 100 others in what appeared to be an assassination attempt on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the eastern city of Batna.

The explosion occurred in a crowd waiting for the president to arrive on a tour of the Aures region. The attacker's behaviour had alerted those around him, prompting him to set off his bomb.

Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni blamed that attack on Islamic militants and local security sources linked it to Al-Qaeda's self-styled offshoot in north Africa, which has claimed responsibility for other recent bombings.

The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) has pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and renamed itself the Al-Qaeda Movement in the Maghreb, sparking Western fears of Islamist militants gaining a toehold in north Africa from which to launch attacks in Europe and beyond.

Bouteflika went on television to denounce the "criminals" responsible for Thursday's bomb but vowed to pursue his national reconciliation policy.

This initiative is intended to integrate socially Islamic activists who renounce the violence that has rocked the country since the army intervened in 1992 to cancel elections a fundamentalist party was poised to win.

About 2,000 militants have been freed from prison and the authorities say about 300 have given themselves up, earning a presidential pardon.

Only a year ago ministers were claiming victory in the war that has left more than 150,000 dead, but in April car bomb attacks on government headquarters and a police station in Algiers killed 33 people and injured more than 220.

Three months later, 10 soldiers were killed and 35 people wounded when a suicide bomber rammed a truck full of explosives into barracks at Lakhdaria, 100 kilometres east of Algiers.

AFP

Subject: French news

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