DUBAI,(Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s north Africa wing said it killed at least 29 members of Algeria’s security forces in the past three months, a U.S.-based firm which monitors militant websites reported on Saturday.
In a statement posted on the Internet, the group, which calls itself al Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb, claimed responsibility for 21 attacks carried out in northern Algeria between September and December, the SITE Intelligence Group said.
The attacks included bombings and ambushes of police and military targets in areas including Bejaia, Constantine and Biskra.
Al Qaeda’s north Africa wing posted several statements on the Internet last year saying it would not stop its attacks until Algeria was free from French and U.S. influence and what it called the “apostate” Algerian government was removed.
Since adopting the al Qaeda name early in 2007, the group, previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), has claimed several attacks, including twin suicide bombings of U.N. offices and a court building in Algiers in December 2007 which killed 41 people.
It also claimed a suicide truck bombing against a coastguard barracks in Dellys in September 2007 that killed 37 people.
Violence began in Algeria in 1992 when a military-backed government scrapped elections that a radical Islamic party was poised to win. About 150,000 people have been killed in the ensuing violence.
According to a Reuters count based on newspaper reports, the death toll from political violence in Algeria fell to eight in November from 13 in October and 31 in September