Maghreb: dialectic of terror continues

Nine Algerian soldiers and at least four Islamist insurgents were killed in clashes after militants ambushed an army patrol in the southwestern province of Ain Defla, 150 kilometers from Algiers April 7. Government troops, backed by helicopters, are searching for the attackers, estimated at 50 militants. They are presumed to belong to the al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb. Fighting was also reported between security forces and Islamist rebels in the Biskra region, southeast of Algiers, which has been tense following an April 2 rebel attack which killed three soldiers. The new fighting has brought the largest single casualty toll among government forces since Islamist guerrillas killed at least seven troops in November 2006 in the Bouira region east of Algiers. (Reuters, April 9)

On April 10 in Casablanca, Morocco, one man was shot dead by police and another blew himself up during a raid in the city’s al-Fida district. The men were being sought on suspicion of involvement in the March 11 Internet cafe suicide blast in Casablanca, which injured four patrons. Thirty-one people have been arrested since the cafe attack. (AlJazeera, April 10)

See last posts on Algeria and Morocco.

  1. Grisly update
    Later reports put the number of men who blew themselves up in Casablanca at three, with a fourth killed of gunshot wounds and a police officer killed in one of the blasts. Meanwhile, twin car bombs went off later that day in Algiers, killing 30 and injuring more than 160. The Government Palace and a police station were the targets, and al-Qaeda in the Maghreb claimed responsibility in video statements posted to the Internet. (The Guardian, April 12; Middle East Online, Xinhua, April 11