Qaida Branch Says Responsible for Algeria Bombing


Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb said Sunday it had carried out a twin suicide attack on an Algerian military academy that killed 18 people.

A brief statement emailed to Agence France Presse in Morocco said AQIM "claims responsibility for the two martyr operations" on Friday which "targeted the heart of Algeria's Cherchell military institution", about 100 kilometers from the Algerian capital.

The authenticity of the statement, sent by a man identifying himself as "Salah Abou Mohamed, official in charge of information of the Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb organization" could not immediately be ascertained.

The text said another statement on "jihadist sites" would be published at a later date.

The suicide bombing also wounded 26 people.

The bombers, one on a motorcycle, reportedly set off explosions a few seconds apart in front of the entrance to the academy's officers' mess hall, just as soldiers were assembled to break the Ramadan fast.

Ramadan is generally considered a good time for holy war, or jihad, by Islamist groups. Since the fast started in early August, there have been many attacks east of Algiers, especially in Kabylie, targeting the army and police.

Authorities in Algeria generally remain tight-lipped about such incidents, which have not ended despite a policy of national reconciliation adopted in the early 2000s by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

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