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Thursday, September 06, 2007

suicide bomber Kills 15, Wounds 70 In Batna, Algeria

ALGIERS (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed 11 people when he blew himself up in the Algerian town of Batna on Thursday shortly before a scheduled visit by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, residents said. [This has been ammended to Read 15 Killed, 74 Wounded in a Subsequent Resuters post]

Bouteflika, who visited some blast victims in hospital who had been wounded in the attack, blamed Islamist rebels, denouncing them as "criminals".

One of the residents said some of the dead and wounded were among a crowd waiting to see the president arrive in the town 430 km (270 miles) southeast of the capital Algiers.
The official APS news agency, giving first official word of the attack, said without elaborating that a bomb explosion had occurred in the town and reported Bouteflika's visit to the wounded in hospital.

Bouteflika accused Islamist militants of trying to scuttle his policy of national reconciliation, which is aimed at ending 15 years of fighting between the army and groups trying to set up a purist Islamic state.

"Terrorist acts have absolutely nothing in common with the noble values of Islam," APS quoted him as saying.

Bouteflika added later in a speech on state television that he would never abandon the national reconciliation policy.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

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