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Advanced Article Archive: Terror Attacks - Africa
Terror Analysis: Terror Attacks Continue to Hit Algeria


This week's bombings in Algeria are the last in a series of 10 terror attacks to hit the country this year, seven of them carried out within the last three months alone. Tuesday's attack at the entrance of a local police training school at Issers, causing the death of 43 people, was one of the deadliest terror attacks to hit Algeria in the last few years.

All of these attacks are attributed to "Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb" (AQIM) which claimed responsibility for most of them. The organization (formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat - GSPC) is now considered to be Al-Qaeda's branch in North Africa, since an official merger declaration was released by Al-Qaeda's second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri in September 2006.

algeria bouira

Since then, and especially in the last year, there has been a sharp increase in the number of terror attack carried out by AQIM, as well as a shift in the targets and modus operandi (use of suicide bombers, car bombs and remote-controlled bombs) which resemble Al-Qaeda more and more. Although most of the attacks are directed at local military and police targets, three of them were aimed at civilian targets (a train station, a local café, a hotel) and might suggest the organization is following a much broader agenda. 

Date MO Target Casualties
02.01.2008 Suicide bomber Police station 4 policemen killed
29.01.2008 Car bomb Police building 3 people killed
07.02.2008 Ambush on police cars Police patrol 8 policemen killed
04.06.2008 Suicide bomber + bomb

A military barracks (suicide bomber)

and outside a local café (bomb)

6 soldiers injured
06.06.2008 Roadside bomb Military patrol 6 soldiers killed 
08.06.2008 Two bombs Train station 13 people killed 
06.08.2008 Suicide car bomb Police station 21 people injured 
09.08.2008 Suicide car bomb Police station 8 people killed 
19.08.2008 Suicide car bomb Police training school  43 people killed
20.08.2008 Two car bombs Military barracks and close to a hotel 12 people killed 

The last and so far only attack against a Western target was the bombing of a U.N. refugee agency last December, but the possibility of future attacks seems very likely, considering the close ties with Al-Qaeda and its HQ in Pakistan/Afghanistan. As AQIM continues to grow and carry out terror attacks in Algeria and other North African countries, it seems only a matter of time before its activity expands beyond those regions, possibly to Europe, where the group is known to have links in the Muslim communities.


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