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Thursday, July 28, 2011

AQIM Near Bouamza missed their food July 26, 2011

ALGIERS — A suicide bomber blew himself up to avoid arrest in the eastern Algerian town of Bouhamza, causing no other casualties, newspapers reported Wednesday.

According to El Watan's online edition, the suspect set off an explosives belt he was wearing when local security encircled him as he left a shop after buying large quantities of food on Tuesday.

Security was subsequently beefed up around the town, located around 300 kilometres (180 miles) east of the capital Algiers, the daily said on its website.

  • On Monday, three suspects, including two would-be suicide bombers, were killed by Algerian security forces around 60 kilometres (36 miles) east of Algiers following a tip-off.
The country's east has been plagued by a surge in attacks in recent weeks, including a suicide attack against a police station that left two dead and 14 wounded.

It was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a Saharan offshoot of the global extremist network which is active in an area nearly the size of Australia and also affecting Mauritania, Mali and Niger.

According to the Ennahar daily's website, one of the suspects killed on Monday was the son of Ali Belhadj, the influential former number two of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS).

The newspaper said DNA testing revealed him as Abdelkahar Belhadj, born in 1988 and a member of AQIM since 2009 under the nom de guerre Mouawia.

The vehicle they were travelling in was packed with explosives they intended to use for a suicide bombing in central Algiers during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

When his son disappeared in 2006, Ali Belhadj had accused the security services of abducting him, an allegation the government had firmly denied.

His death was announced in the local press several times since but never confirmed and he was sentenced to death in absentia by an Algerian court in 2009 for a string of deadly attacks.
Ali Belhadj could not be reached to confirm reports of his son's death.

Ali Belhadj co-founded FIS with Abassi Madani and was jailed when the military called off a 1991 election after his party won the first round.

He was jailed again in 2005 and released in 2006 as part of a reconciliation drive by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

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