Islamic Terrorist Attack UN Refugee Agency In Alegria

Jihad on a UN Refugee Agency and Constitution Council in Algeria has killed at least 10 UN workers and many others in two bomb attacks. Some of the victims were on a school bus, so chances are these were children that the Islamic terrorist killed.

Two car bomb attacks, one of which targeted offices of the U.N. refugee agency, killed at least 45 people in the Algerian capital on Tuesday, authorities said.

The civil protection agency said one attack killed 30 people and that a second blast left another 15 people dead.

Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni, quoted by the official news agency APS, said the targets were the offices of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the seat of Algeria’s Constitutional Council.

The UNHCR’s chief spokesman, Ron Redmond, confirmed that the agency’s Algiers office was hit by an apparent car bomb, and that some staff were injured. He said the explosion happened at about 9:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) in a street where the offices of the UNHCR and the U.N. Development Program are both located.

“What is suspected to be a car bomb went off in the street,” he said.

APS said some victims of one of the attacks had been riding a school bus.

Public radio, Algiers Network 3, said the two bombs went off about 10 minutes apart.

Algerian TV images broadcast in France showed a badly damaged building with many windows blown out.

Algeria has been battling Islamic insurgents since the early 1990s, when the army canceled the second round of the country’s first-ever multiparty elections, stepping in to prevent likely victory by an Islamic fundamentalist party.

Islamist armed groups then turned to force to overthrow the government, with up to 200,000 people killed in the ensuing violence.

The last year has seen a series of bombings — many of them hitherto unheard of suicide attacks — against state targets.

Recent bombings have been claimed by al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa. That was the name adopted in January after the remnants of the insurgency, the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, or GSPC, formally linked with al-Qaida.

Once focused on toppling the Algerian government, the group has now turned its sights on international holy war and the fight against Western interests. French counterterrorism officials say it is drawing members from across North Africa.

A Sept. 6 attack during President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s visit to the eastern city of Batna killed 22 people, and a suicide bombing two days later on a coast guard barracks in the town of Dellys left at least 28 dead.

From the NY Times:

At Least 45 Dead in Algiers Bombings

Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

The Constitutional Court building in Algiers after the bombing today.

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Published: December 12, 2007

PARIS, Dec. 11 — Two car bombs exploded in close succession in the Algerian capital today, killing at least 45 people and wounding several others, according to Algerian officials. One official said it was the worst day of violence in the capital this decade.

Thirty people died in a blast near the Constitutional Court building in Algiers, while another 15 were killed in a second explosion near a number of United Nations offices, a diplomat said, citing information released by the Algerian Civil Protection Agency.

The Algerian interior minister, Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni, said that in both cases explosives had been strapped to vehicles, the Algerian press agency reported on its web site.

There was no immediate indication whether the twin attacks were the work of a well-known Salafist terrorist group with a long history of violence and alleged links to Al Qaeda.

The Group for Preaching and Combat, which is better known by its French initials, GSPC, has been under close watch by American and European counter-terrorism officials for several years.

The scrutiny intensified after the group announced last year that it had joined Al Qaeda in a bid to become its North African arm and organize extremists across the region.

Algeria suffered from intense violence after the Algerian army staged a coup to prevent an Islamic party from winning elections in 1992. The violence eventually subsided, but in recent years sporadic attacks have continued to disrupt life in Algeria and neighboring countries.

On April 11, a suicide bomb killed 33 people in Algiers. Responsibility for that attack was claimed by GSPC, also known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

That the bombing today occurred on the 11th of the month may be significant. The attack in April also occurred on the 11th. Both bring to mind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States and the March 11, 2004, bombings in Madrid. After the April bombing, some terrorism experts suggested that the attacks added to the accumulating symbolism of that day of the month.

The aim of the terrorist group is to overthrow the government and install an Islamic theocracy in Algeria and throughout North Africa.

Al Qaeda’ s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahri, publicly anointed the group as Al Qaeda’s representative in North Africa on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, and in January the group changed its name to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a region that includes Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

The group has apparently undergone a revival since then, drawing new members from across North Africa, terrorism experts in Europe and North Africa say. Governments on both sides of the Mediterranean fear that the group is coalescing into a regional terror movement.

Graham Bowley contributed reporting from New York.


VOA News

Television grab image taken from Algerian television channel Canal Algerie 11 shows people on the site of the explosion outside the Algiers office of the UN Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 11 Dec 2007
Television grab image taken from Algerian television channel Canal Algerie 11 shows people on the site of the explosion outside the Algiers office of the UN Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 11 Dec 2007


Rescuers search for survivors in the rubbles of a destroyed building close to the UN offices

Dozens of people have been killed in two bomb blasts in the Algerian capital, Algiers. Many are feared trapped in the debris of collapsed buildings.

Destroyed building of the United Nations refugee agency offices

The first struck the central El Biar area, near the constitutional court, followed shortly afterwards by an attack on this UN building in the Hydra neighbourhood.

Destroyed building of the United Nations refugee agency, Algiers

Algerian Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni said the explosions were caused by two car bombs – with the second involving a suicide bomber.

A firefighter searches the rubble of a destroyed building near the UN offices

“The death toll is very high,” Mr Zerhouni said after the attacks, without giving a precise figure.

Rescue workers and bomb experts search a collapsed building for survivors

A UN employee caught up in the second blast told the BBC: “Everything shattered. Everything fell. I hid under a piece of furniture so I wouldn’t be hit by the debris.”


Rescuers wait to evacuate victims in the destroyed UN building, Algiers

The UN worker described swarms of people out on the streets, which initially impeded emergency services reaching the wounded.

Rescue workers and bomb experts inspect damaged cars near the destroyed UN building

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility. This is the latest in a series of bombings across the country this year in which scores of people have died.

Rescue workers search for survivors at a destroyed building near the UN offices

Many of the recent blasts have been claimed by members of al-Qaeda’s North Africa wing, calling themselves al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

From the AFP:

Algerian rescue workers and bomb experts search for survivors under the rubble


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