Explosions rock Algiers

Two bombs strike the PM's headquarters and a police station in the Algerian capital.

    The government offices which were attacked are
    in a crowded part of the Algerian capital [Reuters]

    APS, Algeria's official news agency, put the combined toll from the two explosions at 23 with 160 wounded.
     
    Reuters news agency, however, reported that a total of 30 people had been killed in the bombings.
     
    Al-Qaeda claim
     
    Al Jazeera television's bureau in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, received a phone call from a man who said he was a member of the al-Qaeda organisation in the Islamic Maghreb, and wanted to take responsibility for the explosions.
     
    Abu Mohammed Salah, the caller, said that the explosions were the result of three al-Qaeda members who had carried out suicide lorry-bombings. His claims could not be independently confirmed.
     
    He said the attacks targeted three sites: the Algerian government building in the capital, and the headquarters of Interpol and the judicial police headquarters in Bab Ezzouar.
     
    Chakib Benmoussa, Morocco's interior minister, said investigators had "established no link" between Wednesday's blasts in Algeria and Tuesday's attack in Casablanca, but said ''we don't rule it out".

    Benmoussa said the timing of the attacks was possibly coincidental.

    PM denounces attack

    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.

     

    Abdel Karim Dahmen, a member of the ruling party, referred to the blasts as "bombs of terror" and said they could be an attempt to destabilise the country before elections due next month.

     

    Algeria's official news agency said
    160 people were wounded [Reuters]

    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.

     

    The main anti-government rebel group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat 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 between the government and Muslim fighters in the 1990s.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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