Twin car bombs rocked a hotel and military headquarters in Algeria, killing 12 people Wednesday, a day after a suicide bombing nearby killed 43. The new bombings were the sixth major terrorist action this month in the North African nation.
No group has claimed responsibility for the recent spate of killings, including the two remote-controlled car bombs that struck the town of Bouira on Wednesday. But all six occurred in an area east of the capital where militants from an Algerian offshoot of al-Qaida are thought to operate.
Violence in this gas- and oil-rich U.S. ally has surged since the GSPC – a homegrown extremist group that led a deadly insurgency in the 1990s – joined Osama bin Laden's network in 2006 and took the name al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa.
The death toll rose to more than 70 this month alone, and the relentless bombings led many newspapers to question whether authorities have grown too lenient, or too weak, to fight Islamist extremists.
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Jean-Louis Bruguiere, a terrorism expert, said the group is receiving military reinforcements from al-Qaida in Iraq – and using Algeria as a platform to spread instability throughout North Africa and possibly beyond.
Wednesday's two car bombs in Bouira, some 55 miles southeast of the capital, were triggered by remote control, the first hitting a regional military command and injuring four soldiers, the state-run APS news agency reported.
A minute later, at least 12 people died and 27 were wounded when a second bomb exploded next to a nearby downtown hotel. Most of the victims were traveling in a bus that passed in front of the hotel, APS said.
All those who died and about 15 of the wounded were Algerian employees of SNC Lavalin, a Montreal-based engineering and construction firm, the company said. They were on the bus headed to work on a water treatment plant.