Witnesses say the attack was a suicide bombing; the al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb claims responsibility. By Lamine Chikhi for Reuters:
LAKHDARIA, Algeria (Reuters) – A truck bomb exploded at an Algerian army
barracks on Wednesday, killing eight soldiers in the deadliest attack claimed by al Qaeda’s
north Africa wing since a triple suicide bombing in April.
The blast in Lakhdaria village 120 km (75 miles) east of the capital in the troubled Kabylie region happened hours before the opening in Algiers of the All Africa Games, a prestigious sports event regarded as Africa’s Olympics which Algeria is
“I heard a terrible explosion,” said the owner of a coffee shop in Lakhdaria, a settlement surrounded by forested mountains that have long served as a hideouts for Islamist rebels seeking to set up Islamic rule in the gas exporting OPEC member state.
“I first thought it was an earthquake but soon I found out it was an attack against the barracks.”
The 0530 GMT blast was caused by a truck bomb and the eight dead and 23 wounded were soldiers, the official APS news agency reported security sources as saying.
It made no mention of the attackers, but residents, citing unconfirmed reports, said the assault was carried out by a suicide bomber who gained access to the barracks by
posing as the driver of a food delivery truck.
Another bomb exploded close to a group of gendarmes on patrol near the village
of Tigzirt in the same region later on Wednesday, killing one and injuring another, local
Al Jazeera television said al Qaeda’s north Africa wing, the al Qaeda
Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb, claimed responsibility for the earlier truck bomb and
said it was a suicide mission.
“Our martyr was able to enter into the heart of the (barracks) and set off the
explosion there,” said a spokesman of al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb in an
The spokesman named the suicide attacker as Suhail Abu Malih and said more than one tonne (2,200 lb) of explosives were used.
If confirmed, the highly unusual use of a suicide bomber would be the first since a triple suicide attack killed 33 people in Algiers on April 11. Those attacks were also claimed by al Qaeda’s north Africa wing.