Deadly blasts in nation’s capital hit prime minister’s office and a police station.
Omar Dalal, the editor of the Al Shaab newspaper, was near the scene when one blast happened at 11:30am local time and said it took place in the street parallel to the 17-storey building that houses the prime minister’s office and several ministries, including the interior ministry.
Benmoussa said the timing of the attacks was possibly coincidental.
Prime minister unhurt
Abdelaziz Belkhadem, the Algerian prime minister, was unhurt and referred to the attacks “criminal and cowardly”.
He said an investigation would be carried out to determine their cause.
Javier Solana, European Union foreign policy chief
Belkhadem, on Al-Arabiya television, said “the objective was a media provocation shortly before the election” and vowed national elections would go ahead as planned next month.
Reports say al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb – which claimed the Algiers bombings – is the new name of the main armed anti-government group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.
The Salafist group has claimed responsibility for several attacks in recent months and has also declared itself to be a part of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organisation.
More than 100,000 Algerians died in a civil war in the 1990s.
World leaders reacted with horror to the bombings.
|Algeria’s official news agency said
160 people were wounded [Reuters]
Marie Okabe, UN deputy spokeswoman, said Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, “strongly condemns the terrorist bombings that occurred today in Algeria“.
The Arab League also condemned “these terrorist acts and what they represent and aim to achieve”.
Jacques Chirac, the French president, condemned what he called the “terrible attacks” in a message of solidarity with Algeria, which was a French colony until 1962.
Denouncements came from the Arab monarchies of the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in separate statements, as well as from Russia, Iran and the US state department.
In Brussels, Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said: “These were odious and cowardly acts.”