Algerian Agriculture Minister Survives Assassination Attempt
Algerian minister of agriculture Saeed Barakat survived an assassination attempt by an explosive device during an official visit in Al-Beleeda district, 50 kilometers south Algiers, an Algerian newspaper said on Saturday.
The homemade explosive device reportedly went off at 3:30 p.m (1430 GMT) on Friday in the Blida region, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Algiers, while Barkat was on a two-day working visit.
An agriculture ministry spokesman to declined to confirm the attack, adding that the Barkat was continuing his trip to the region.
But La Tribune newspaper confirmed the attempt saying the explosive was detonated in Muqata Lazreq in Hamam Melwan municipality on Friday fifteen minutes after the minister and the accompanying delegation's departure from the place.
Muqata Lazreq is a mountainous area where militants belonging to the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) led by Antar Zouabri are believed to be based.
Zouabri's group is one of several to have refused President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's six-month amnesty that ended in January, and which was aimed at bringing a halt to eight years of civil war that has cost 100,000 lives.
The newspaper's sources said the explosion caused injuries to a policeman.
Barakat is a close friend of president Bouteflika and also an active member of the National Liberation Party, the former ruling party.
Meanwhile, other Algerian newspapers said seven people were killed including two soldiers and other four wounded due to violent activities, which took place last week in different areas of Algiers.
Al-Yawm newspaper said two soldiers were killed last Thursday in a fake check point set up by extremists believed to belong to al-Salaf Group near al-Akdariyah in al-Bweirah district, 100 kilometers south east Algiers.
Other two were also killed when gunmen attacked a truck of travelers.
Also three militants, believed to be extremists, were killed during a combing operation by the Algerian army in Ein Adan region at Sedi Belabbas district, 400 kilometer west the capital Algiers – (Agencies)
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