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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 19:08 GMT
Bomb attacks hit Algerian police
Destroyed police centre in Ben Khada
A destroyed police centre in Ben Khada, 90km east of Algiers
At least six people have been killed and 13 injured in a series of bomb blasts targeting security forces in north-eastern Algeria.

Seven police stations were hit in the Kabylia region, about 100km (62 miles) east of the capital, Algiers, in apparently co-ordinated attacks.

Five of the seven bombs were set off from vehicles, the government said.

An al-Qaeda-linked group said it carried out the blasts, but the statement has not yet been verified.

The group, the Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb, previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), claimed responsibility in a statement published online.

Algeria map
I was woken by huge blast. I thought it was an earthquake
Aaref Jumaa
Si Mustafa resident

Six people, including two members of the security forces, were killed in seven attacks in the Boumerdes and Tizi Ouzou districts, the Interior Ministry statement said, according to Algeria's APS news agency.

Four of the dead were in Si Mustafa village, two were killed in Meklaa.

Of the 13 injured, 10 were from the security forces.

Targets were also attacked in Draa Benkheda, Meklaa, Illoula Oumalou and Souk El Had, which was hit twice.

"I was woken by huge blast. I thought it was an earthquake," Si Mustafa resident Aaref Jumaa told Reuters news agency.

Immunity

Last month 15 people were killed in fighting between the Islamist group and the army - the first major clashes for several months.

AL-QAEDA IN ALGERIA
The Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb was founded in 1998 as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC)
GSPC aimed to establish an Islamic state in Algeria
It changed its name in January, apparently after approval from Osama Bin Laden
Its leader is Abdelmalek Droudkel, also known as Abu Mus'ab Abd el-Wadoud
GSPC was believed to have about 500 members, though it claims to have 5,000 guerrillas

But Tuesday's attacks were the first to target police stations since a series of truck bombs exploded in Algiers in October last year, killing three and wounding 24.

In December a bomb tore apart a bus carrying foreign oil workers in Algiers, killing two and wounding eight.

The GSPC claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Last August, Algeria offered Islamist militants a six-month amnesty on condition of surrender, but fewer than 300 came forward.

Militants were promised immunity from prosecution provided they were not involved in serious crimes such as massacres, rapes and bombings.

The region is also a centre of Berber identity in Algeria.

In 1980, Kabylia was the centre of the Berber Spring, in which mass protests called for Berber to be made an official language.


SEE ALSO
Islamists battle Algeria's army
30 Jan 07 |  Africa
Country profile: Algeria
22 Jan 07 |  Country profiles



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