Algerian gas plant hit by rocket attack

Al-Qaeda's Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the rocket attack at the gas facility in southern Algeria.

    The Krechba gas facility was shut down as a safety precaution [File pic: Alfred de Montesquiou/The Associated Press]
    The Krechba gas facility was shut down as a safety precaution [File pic: Alfred de Montesquiou/The Associated Press]

    An Algerian gas plant jointly operated by foreign energy giants came under attack on Friday with rocket-propelled grenades, Algerian officials have said. 

    The Army "scuttled this attempted terrorist attack and immediately surrounded the zone," the ministry said in a statement.

    There were no reports of casualties or injuries from attack on the In Salah Gas asset, which is run by Statoil, BP and Sonatrach, the Algerian state-run gas company.

    Al-Qaeda's North Africa branch Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack.

    The statement said the attack took place with surface-to-surface mid-range missile and comes in the context of the group’s "war on the interests of the crusaders" everywhere. The group also said the attack was an attempt to stop "the bleeding theft of Muslims’ gas and oil". 

    Norway-based Statoil said in a statement that the facility, located some 1,200 kilometres south of Algiers in the Sahara Desert, was "hit by explosive munitions fired from a distance" at approximately 6am local time (07:00 GMT).

    The oil and gas company said it had been in touch with its three employees at the site, who were safe and not injured.

    Army reinforcements have been sent to the area from other regions, local security officials said.

    In January 2013, a band of al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters attacked the Ain Amenas complex in southern Algeria.

    After a four-day standoff, the Algerian army moved in. At least 37 hostages, mostly foreign workers, were killed in the attack.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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