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Thursday, August 14, 2008

AQIM suffering from Loss of Junior Emirs.

A suicide bomber attacked a coast guard post in the beach town of Zemmouri east of Algiers on Saturday night (August 9th), killing at least six and injuring 18.

Algerian officials say the latest suicide attack is in response to the killing of 12 al-Qaeda terrorists last week in Tizi Ouzou.

  • The suicide bomber reportedly drove a car laden with explosives into the police post at 10 pm on Saturday.
  • The explosion was heard in nearby towns, and damaged a number of buildings.
  • "I was surprised by how powerful the blast was and thought it was an earthquake similar to the one that struck the region in 2003," El Arbi, 50, told Magharebia.

According to the interior ministry, most of the victims were civilian.
Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for similar attacks in recent weeks, the latest of which occurred on August 3rd and targeted a police station in Tizi Ouzou.

Speaking from the site of the attack on Sunday, Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni told reporters that the attacker blew himself up after being shot at by a policeman who saw his car approaching.
  • Zerhouni said the attack was probably in response to the "major operation" by the Algerian army in the town of Beni Douala in Tizi Ouzou that culminated in the elimination of 12 al-Qaeda terrorists, some of whom were Emirs.
  • Acting on information obtained from detained al-Qaeda members, the army on Friday launched a surprise attack that security experts saw as part of the authorities' effort to move the war against terror to the "stronghold of terrorism".

The army operation reportedly took place near the forests of Tizi Ouzou in the wilaya of Boumerdès, where organisation leader Abdelmalek Droukdel is believed to be hiding.

  • The army clashed with 16 more terrorists in 4 vehicles. One of the cars with four terrorists on board managed to flee.
  • The interior ministry said many weapons, including Kalashnikov rifles, pistols and guns, as well as a radio transceiver, were found.

Saturday's attack is an attempt by al-Qaeda to avenge the killing of its leaders, security affairs journalist Mounir Abi told Magharebia.

  • Abi said 15 emirs have been eliminated since last year, including
  • Zoheir Harik, also known as Sofiane Fassia, considered Droukdel's right hand man and in charge of procuring weapons for the organisation.

He said the attacks aim at boosting the morale of the increasingly insecure group after the severe blows dealt by the army and security forces.

He added that the group is trying to demonstrate to al-Qaeda's global leadership that they are capable of launching attacks on security forces and foreign interests.

In an internet message posted on August 6th, AQIM claimed that two attacks on August 3rd and July 23rd killed 38 policemen and army soldiers, and accused the interior minister of deceiving the public by providing a false death toll.

Zerhouni had announced earlier that the attacks killed only the suicide bombers themselves.

The Rest @ Magharebia

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