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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 July, 2004, 02:37 GMT 03:37 UK
Algiers blast 'was car bombing'
By Stephanie Irvine
BBC

Officials gather at the scene of June's explosion at the Hamma power plant
At first authorities said the blast was probably caused by a technical fault
A senior security official in Algeria has said that a big explosion last month was caused by a car bomb.

The explosion, on 21 June, injured 11 people and damaged the main electricity plant in the capital Algiers.

Algeria's main Islamic group, the GSPC, said it carried out the attack, but until now officials had suggested that the blast was due to a technical fault.

The bombing suggests Algeria's Islamic militants want to show they can still attack at the heart of the state.

The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) said at the time that the attack proved the authorities did not have control of security in the capital.

And now, admitting it was a car bomb, Algeria's police chief Ali Tounsi has said more than 500 extra police officers will be deployed in Algiers to reinforce security.

In the mid 1990s - at the height of the civil war - bomb attacks by Islamic militants in Algeria were commonplace.

But in recent years security has greatly improved.

By attacking a major energy installation in the capital, Algeria's Islamist militants hope to shake public confidence and scare away the investors the government so keenly wants.


SEE ALSO:
Algeria says top militant killed
20 Jun 04  |  Africa
Algerian group backs al-Qaeda
23 Oct 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Algeria
13 Apr 04  |  Country profiles


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