Algeria: Islamist insurgency back on?

Abu Abduallah Ahmad, financial officer of the so-called “al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb,” confirmed to AlJazeera’s Morocco office that his group was responsible for two attacks in Algeria over the March 3-4 weekend that killed seven police and four Russian gas pipeline workers. Said Ahmad: “We, al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb, claim responsibility for the bombing of the bus of the Russians, who fight Islam and its followers and our brothers in Chechnya. We ask the Muslim Algerian people, to keep away from the infidels and tyrant posts to avoid future attacks.”

The attacks were also verified in a statement posted on an Islamist group website. “Our fighters conducted an attack on the municipal guard in Tizi Ouzou and killed a number of infidels,” the web statement said.

An Algerian newspaper also reported that suspected Islamist militants killed seven police in an ambush in Tizi Ouzou. The newspaper said the fighters detonated an explosive device at two cars carrying police and then opened fire on them, killing five and wounding another three.

Attacks by Islamist insurgents have fallen sharply in recent years, but raids by re-grouped guerillas persist, mainly in the Boumerdes and Tizi Ouzou regions to the east of Algiers. (AlJazeera, March 6)

See our last post on Algeria.