A bomb exploded in a busy commercial area of Algiers on Wednesday, injuring 34 people, five of them seriously, in the first such attack in the capital in two years, hospital officials said.
The bomb exploded late morning on Amar El Kamma street, one of the busiest areas of the old town of Casbah.
A spokesman for Maillot Hospital at Bab El, in the west of the capital, said two of the wounded had their legs blown off in the blast.
Security forces confirmed the injury toll was 34, but said 12 casualties had been released from hospital after treatment. They confirmed that the most seriously injured had lost their legs.
Witnesses said a passerby had placed a packet containing the bomb in front of a sweet shop. Several cigarette vendors and stallholders were injured in the explosion, they said.
Algiers has been free of bomb attacks for nearly two years.
The most recent attack in the capital took place at Kouba suburb and was attributed to Islamic extremists who shot a policeman during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan late last year.
According to a tally compiled from local press reports, since the beginning of August more than 80 people have been killed and tens of others injured in attacks in various parts of Algeria linked to armed Islamic groups.
The Armed Islamic Group (GIA) of Antar Zouabri and Hassan Hattab's Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) are pursuing a bloody campaign for the introduction of an Islamic state in Algeria.
Both have refused to acknowledge a reconciliation agreement presented by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
More than 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Algeria's civil war since 1992 when the army interrupted elections that the now outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) was certain to win -- ALGIERS (AFP)
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