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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 11:23 GMT
Car bomb attack in Algerian town
Remains of ruined building
Homes and shops near the police station were also damaged

At least two people have been killed and several others wounded in a car bomb attack in the Algerian town of Thenia, the interior ministry has said.

The blast also caused serious damage to houses near the police building in the town, 55km (34 miles) east of Algiers.

Earlier this month, four people were killed in a suicide bombing of a police station in the nearby town of Naciria.

That attack was claimed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which was behind a string of similar bombings last year.

At least 41 people, including 17 United Nations staff, were killed in twin suicide bombings in Algiers on 11 December.

The militant group, formerly the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), has also claimed to have carried out attacks that killed more than 50 people in early September, and blasts that killed at least 23 people in the capital in April.

Barriers

Tuesday's suspected suicide bombing in Thenia damaged the town's three-storey police station as well as several nearby homes, shops and a restaurant.

Thank God it didn't happen at 0800 or we would have been killed without a doubt
Slimane
Local butcher

Witnesses said the driver of a small van had detonated explosives inside his vehicle when police opened fire to stop it reaching their building.

The van had earlier collided with several obstacles, including barriers around the building, giving the police time to take action, they added.

"The explosion happened at 0625 (0525 GMT) and thank God it didn't happen at 0800 or we would have been killed without a doubt," a local butcher told Reuters news agency.

Several of the casualties are reported to have been policemen.

Thenia lies on the edge of the mountainous Kabylie region, where many Islamist militants are believed to be based.

On Monday, Algerian security forces announced they had smashed an Islamist cell in the nearby town of Corso that was planning a suicide attack in Algiers.

SEE ALSO
Algerians react to Tuesday's bombing
12 Dec 07 |  Have Your Say
UN review after Algiers bombing
12 Dec 07 |  Africa
Algiers bomb shatters UN office
12 Dec 07 |  Africa

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