Algiers – At least one person was killed and three wounded on Friday when a suicide bomber drove a vehicle packed with explosives into a paramilitary police base in an Algerian desert town, official media reported. Let’s pray for Algeria today.
The attack was the first at the gendarmes headquarters in Ouargla, some 90 km (55 miles) from Algeria’s main oil town of Hassi Messaouad and 475 km south of the capital Algiers.
The attack took place at around 5:00 a.m. (0400 GMT) and damaged the main entrance and nearby buildings, the official APS news agency reported.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack but al Qaeda’s North African wing, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has for years been waging an insurgency in Algeria and neighbouring countries. It frequently targets security forces.
Security experts say the conflict in Libya, which last year forced out its veteran leader, has allowed weapons looted from Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals to fall into the hands of insurgents from neighbouring countries.
This has provided a boost to the operations of AQIM, analysts say, and also helped fuel a separatist rebellion in Mali, where Islamists on Thursday declared control of the north.
Algerian media and a security source said on Thursday that Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a founding member of AQIM, was believed to have been killed in fighting in northern Mali this week.