18 Injured in Bomb Blast at Algiers Bus Station
Eighteen people were hurt, three seriously, when a bomb exploded early Tuesday at a bus station in the Algerian capital, an official said.
The bomb was placed in a briefcase in the middle of the crowded bus station, the official said.
An AFP journalist and witnesses at the scene said at least three people had legs or feet torn off as the powerful blast ripped through the bus station at about 8:45 am (0745 GMT).
The terminus was packed with people waiting for buses to take them to work or coaches leaving Algiers. Many of the witnesses interviewed by AFP, including students who were waiting to catch buses to their university classes, were in shock.
After two years of calm in the Algerian capital and its suburbs, attacks attributed to armed Islamist groups resumed at the end of August.
Two people were killed and 32 injured three of them seriously, in a bomb explosion at Casbah, the old town of Algiers, on August 29.
Just days later, on September 4, seven people were killed and 11 injured in an attack by armed extremists in Zeralda, 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Algiers.
A village guard was killed and another injured by gunshots on September 5 in an attack at El-Harrach, just east of Algiers.
Several bombs were defused by the police in September and October.
Between 1993 and 1995 armed groups planted several car bombs in Algiers.
The latest attack comes as the Algerian capital mourns severe floods which lashed the city on November 10, in which 683 people were killed and 170 disappeared, according to an official count.
Two groups currently blamed for the continuing violence, including massacres of civilians, are Antar Zouabri's Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), led by Hassan Hattab.
Both groups figure on the list of terrorist organizations drawn up by the United States in the wake of the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York.
The GIA and the GSPC rejected a civil reconciliation policy launched in 1999 by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, when he gave a conditional amnesty to thousands of fighters, mostly from the now disbanded armed wing of the FIS.
Algeria has been embroiled in a Muslim fundamentalist insurgency which has claimed at least 150,000 lives since 1992, when the army cancelled elections that the now outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) was certain to win -- Algiers (AFP)
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