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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 July 2007, 21:49 GMT 22:49 UK
Soldiers killed in Algerian bomb
The site of the suicide car bombing
The bomber blew up a refrigerated truck with explosives
A suicide lorry bomber has killed at least eight soldiers at a military barracks in Algeria - on the opening day of the All-Africa Games.

More than 20 people were injured in the blast near Bouira, 120km (75 miles) east of the capital, Algiers.

Al-Qaeda's North Africa wing said it carried out the bomb at the barracks in the village of Lakhdaria.

The attack came as 8,000 athletes from more than 20 sports gathered in the capital for the opening ceremony.

The bomber also died after detonating a refrigerated truck packed with explosives at the military encampment in the mountainous Kabylie region at 0530 local time (0530 GMT).

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The owner of a coffee shop in Lakhdaria said: "I heard a terrible explosion.

"I first thought it was an earthquake but soon I found out it was an attack against the barracks."

The All-Africa Games are one of the continent's biggest sporting events.

The BBC's Inas Mazhar in Algiers said there is an unprecedented security presence for the Games.

ALL-AFRICA GAMES 2007
Algeria's first major event in 15 years because of insecurity
8,710 police and soldiers
8,000 athletes competing
94 checkpoints in Algiers
52 countries sending teams
27 sports
9th edition
Last hosted in Algeria in 1978

Some 8,710 police officers and soldiers have been deployed at about 90 locations in the city.

It is the second time that the North African country has hosted the games - the first being in 1978.

Some athletes had expressed concern about going to the games given recent insecurity in the country.

The suicide blast came a day after new French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Algiers, in his first trip outside Europe since coming to power.

In April, an organisation calling itself al-Qaeda in the Maghreb claimed responsibility for two blasts in Algiers which killed more than 20 people ahead of elections.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Algeria
01 Jun 07 |  Country profiles
Violence ahead of Algeria polls
14 May 07 |  Africa

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