ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) – Twin car bombings rocked a hotel and military headquarters in the Algerian town of Bouira on Wednesday, killing 11 people a day after a suicide bombing in a neighboring region killed 43, official media and witnesses said.
Wednesday’s first bomb targeted Bouira’s regional military command and injured four soldiers, the state-run APS news agency said. A minute later, 11 people died and 27 were wounded when a second bomb went off next to a hotel in downtown Bouira, APS and the state-run national radio said.
A security official in the Bouira area told The Associated Press that nearly all the victims were civilians. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t allowed to discuss such matters with the media.
It was not immediately clear whether the bombings, which occurred at about 6 a.m (0400GMT) were suicide attacks or if the two cars blew up by remote control. There was no immediate official comment on the attacks. The military barracks were most damaged. “Parts of the walls have fallen-off, the fence is destroyed, cars are buried under the rubble,” Abdellah Debbache, the Bouira correspondent of Algeria’s Liberte newspaper, told AP by telephone.
Algerian news reports said the front facade of the barracks had been torn off and that several other buildings had been damaged.
Most victims from the second bomb had been traveling in a bus that passed in front of the hotel, APS said. Local hospital officials said they were workers from a construction company building a dam nearby at Koudiet-Acerdoun, the news agency reported.
Witnesses said several people had been brought to the hospital. Bouira was cordoned off by police and several additional roadblocks were set up in the surrounding region, they said.
The blasts appeared to be quite powerful, and an AP reporter in the area heard them from several kilometers (miles) away.
Bouira is located some 90 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Algiers in the Bouira province.
Some 45 kilometers (27 miles) to the north of Bouira in the adjacent Boumerdes province, a suicide bomber on Tuesday rammed a car into a line of applicants at a police academy in the town of Les Issers, killing at least 43 people and injuring 45.
No group has claimed responsibility for either attack. An al-Qaeda affiliate has organized a series of bombings over the past two years in this North African country that has important oil and natural gas fields. Violence has dramatically increased since 2006, when the GSPC, Algeria’s last big extremist group left over from a quieted insurgency in the 1990s renamed itself Al-Qaeda in Islamic North Africa and joined Osama bin Laden’s network.
The insurgency broke out in 1992 when the army canceled the second round of legislative elections that an Islamist party was expected to win. Ensuing fighting between security forces and Islamic militants left some 200,000 dead.