Al Queda Group Claims Algerian Bombing
Al-Qaeda’s North African wing has claimed it was behind an ambush of an Algerian military convoy in which at least 11 soldiers were killed, US-based monitoring group SITE Intelligence said on Sunday.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said in an Internet statement it had launched the July 29 attack near the town of Tipaza in Algeria and had killed at least 15 soldiers, said SITE, which monitors Islamist websites.
In its statement posted on the Internet on Saturday, AQIM claimed that a group of jihadists targeted a “pagan army convoy composed of three vehicles,” which resulted in the deaths of “no fewer than 15 soldiers and the wounding of others.”
The group also claimed to have seized “nine Kalashnikov machine guns and a large amount of ammunition,” SITE said.
Algerian newspaper reports said the military convoy had been ambushed outside the coastal town of Damous, near Tipaza, about 70 kilometres (45 miles) from the capital Algiers.
Damous is a popular beach town 15 kilometres from Tipaza, which is renowned for its Roman ruins. Founded by the Phoenicians, the town is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Algerian newspapers said 11 soldiers had been killed but some put the number of dead as high as 21.
There was no official confirmation of the reports.
Local sources said that the soldiers were returning after escorting to base a group of Chinese workers building the future motorway intended to cross the whole of the north African country from east to west.
Many of the fundamentalist attacks in Algeria are blamed on AQIM, formerly the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, which has sought to become the branch in t! he Maghreb, or north African nations, of Osama Bin Laden’s Al-! Qaeda.
AQIM has extended its operations beyond Algeria’s borders into neighbouring states.