(AFP) – Aug 3, 2008
ALGIERS (AFP) — A suicide bomber wounded 25 people including four policemen Sunday in an attack targetting security forces in Algeria's eastern Kabylie region, Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni said.
"The car bomb attack took place early Sunday and was aimed at the city security forces in Tizi Ouzou, leaving 25 wounded, including four police officers," Zerhouni told the Algeria Press Service (APS).
Tizi Ouzou is located about 150 kilometres (90 miles) east of the capital Algiers.
"Four civilians among the wounded are under medical treatment and a policeman requires minor surgery," Zerhouni added.
The blast also damaged surrounding buildings, APS said, quoting a statement from the interior ministry. Witnesses said the police station was in the old town, which is also close to an army barracks.
It was the first suicide car bomb attack in Algeria for several months.
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.
Islamist attacks and clashes with security forces are frequent in Algeria, though not on the scale witnessed during the country's 1990s civil war which killed 150,000 people.
The group -- known as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb -- claimed responsibility for two suicide blasts on United Nations buildings in Algiers in December that killed at least 41 people, including 18 UN staffers.
Though most of the group's attacks are still launched in Algeria, it has also carried out operations in other North African countries.
The leader of the group warned in an interview last month that it "will not hesitate" to target US interests across the world.
Abdelmalek Droukdal gave what is thought to be his first interview with a Western journalist to the New York Times, replying via a cassette recording to the paper's written questions.
Droukdal's organisation was known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) before it affiliated itself with Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda group in 2006, a move he said was "our duty" so that "we can have our fight under one flag."
The newspaper quoted US military officials as saying that Droukdal's group has between 300 and 400 fighters in the mountains east of Algiers, with another 200 scattered across the rest of the country.
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