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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
Algerian PM defiant after bombs
Fire in Algiers
The attacks in Algiers are the worst in the capital for years
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem says parliamentary polls will take place as planned next month despite two bombings in the capital.

The death toll has risen to 33, with 222 hurt in Wednesday's suicide attacks - one targeting Mr Belkhadem's office.

He said it was a deliberate provocation before the elections, adding that those who resort to violence exclude themselves from the political process.

A person claiming to be a spokesman for al-Qaeda said it organised the attack.

This is a crime, a cowardly act
Abdelaziz Belkhadem
Algerian Prime Minister

There has been no independent verification of the claim.

The first attack was carried out by a bomber who drove a car laden with explosives into a guard post outside the prime minister's office.

Minutes later, men driving two cars triggered explosions at a police station in the eastern district of Bab Ezzouar, close to the international airport.

Loud explosion

The violence comes a day after the authorities in neighbouring Morocco said they had foiled a plot by suicide bombers to target foreign and strategic interests by suicide bombers.

Algiers map
Three suspects blew themselves up after being pursued by the authorities, and a fourth was shot dead by police. It also follows clashes with militants in Tunisia earlier this year.

Violent attacks have been increasing in Algeria since the main Islamist rebel group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), changed its name to the al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb in January.

Al-Jazeera TV said this was the group that claimed responsibility for Wednesday's violence.

BBC Arab Affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi says many analysts will link the surge in violence with the ambitions of the Algerian hardline organisation to spread its campaign to neighbouring countries.

The city centre explosion was so loud it could be heard up to 10km (six miles) away, residents said.

Government employees were injured by flying glass and debris, which spread up to 300m (yards) from the site of the blasts.

Ambulances went to the scene and police blocked entry to the prime minister's office, which also houses the offices of the interior minister.

Alarm bells

Our analyst says the attacks are a serious blow for the Algerian authorities which have for years fought Islamist militants.

Despite an amnesty announced two years ago, the violence in Algeria has never completely died down since its height in the mid-1990s.

The latest violence will revive painful memories of that civil strife that lasted for a decade and left an estimated 150,000 people dead.

Magdi Abdelhadi says the spectre of a resurgent al-Qaeda operating in North Africa, close to Europe's southern border, will send the alarm bells ringing in European capitals.

It may also have a devastating impact on the prospect of more open and democratic societies in the region.

He says that as in other Arab states, the authorities have used the threat of terror in the past to curb civil and political freedoms.


Are you in the region? If you have any information you'd like to share with the BBC you can do so using the form below.

You can send your pictures and moving footage to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 0044 7725 100 100

When taking photos or filming please do not endanger yourself or others, take unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.


I was in a building not very far from the police station where the second bomb exploded. At first we thought that it was an earthquake. Students were confused and crying. Everything came to a standstill. There was no transport and everywhere was blocked. Just last week there were two bomb threats at two universities. Some of the students were in the middle of an exam and had to be evacuated. I really wonder what is next.
Amina Rashid, Bab Ezzouar, Algeria

My husband is visiting his family in Bab Ezzouar. The police station in Bab Ezzouar is located on the edge of a big park where the popular playground faces the front entrance. I'm really happy not to be in Alger. We take the kids to that park everyday when we're there.
Leila , Stockholm, Sweden

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VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Aftermath of the explosions



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30 Jan 07 |  Africa



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