Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blasts hit Algeria, Lebanon and Iraq

Under fire: Algeria, Lebanon and Iraq have all seen increased violence

Yesterday’s bomb blast in Algeria seems to indicate a shift in focus and an increased rise in al-Qaeda activity. Calling themselves al-Qaeda in North Africa, the group admitted responsibility for the massive blast which killed at least 26 people. One of the targets was the UN office where 11 staff were killed. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, has called for a full security review after the attack [BBC]. There has been a gradual increase in al-Qaeda related attacks this year breaking ten years of relative peace in the former French colony [BBC]. Al-Qaeda in North Africa, or Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb, has formed from a number of Islamic militant groups [BBC]. Its reported leader is Abdel Moussab Abdelwadoud, though he has rarely been seen.

While the country was still reeling from this attack further blasts have hit Iraq after a relative calm in recent weeks. Three car bombs hit the southern city of Amara killing at least 39 according to reports [BBC]. A further 100 people were injured in the blasts. There has been no claim of responsibility but it is likely to be inter-factional violence between Shia militants who are competing for power in the area.

Lebanon also saw violence return to its streets today with a bomb blast targeting its army chief. General Francois al-Hajj was killed in the attack which hit close to the capital Beirut [BBC]. There has been no claim of responsibility for the bomb attack.

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