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Politics | Human rights

Suicide bomb kills 8 in Algeria

afrol News, 11 August - A suicide car bomb attack on security forces in northern Algeria has killed eight civilians and wounded 19 others late Saturday, Algerian authorities said.

The attack came a week after 25 people were injured when a police station in Tizi Ouzou, another northern city, was targeted by a suicide car bomber. Al-Qaeda's North Africa wing claimed responsibility for that attack.

Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said civilians were killed and 19 others injured in the attack at 10 p.m. in the coastal town of Zemmouri el Bahri, 45 km east of the capital.

According to reports, explosives between 200 and 300 kilograms packed into a vehicle detonated outside a police station in the city.

Mr Zerhouni said other officials went to scene of explosion in the popular coastal city to offer their condolences to families of the victims.

According witnesses, guards had opened fire on the bomber when he refused to stop his vehicle, and he shouted "God is Great" seconds before detonating the bomb.

A radio report said bomber's targets were a coastguard barracks and an adjacent post of the paramilitary gendarmerie. Witnesses said the gendarmerie post was destroyed but the barracks were only slightly damaged.

Algeria is emerging from more than a decade of conflict that began in 1992 when military backed government to scrap elections, a radical Islamic party was poised to win and 150 000 people have died during ensuing violence.

The bloodshed has subsided in recent years and in 2006 government freed more than 2,000 former Islamist guerrillas under an amnesty designed to end the conflict.

But a hard core of several hundred rebels fights on as members of al Qaeda's north Africa wing, which was previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat or GSPC.

The group's leader, Abdelmalek Droukdel, told New York Times last month that increasing numbers of young men around the region were joining the group because of persistent poverty and anger at what he called the West's war on Islam.

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