Suicide bomber attacks Algerian oasis city

An al Qaeda offshoot claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack that injured dozens in the Algerian oasis city of Tamanrasset, Agence France-Presse said.

A truck loaded with explosives rammed into a military base, wounding 23 security forces and civilians just before 8 a.m. local time.

The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa sent a written note to AFP, saying, “We inform you that we are behind the explosion that occurred this morning at Tamanrasset."

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The attack is significant because it occurred in a region that hasn’t experienced significant violence in the past. Tamanrasset is about 1,200 miles south of Algiers.

Reports differ on casualties and the number of wounded. As many as five people might have been killed in the attack, The Associated Press said.

The AP, citing sources inside Tamanrasset, said that blast injured 15 officers, 5 firefighters and 3 passersby.

It also contacted a local journalist who said five are dead. A local hospital said 26 are injured and one of the officers was in serious condition.

The Movement for Oneness might have attacked Tamanrasset because the headquarters co-ordinating anti-insurgency efforts in the Sahara region are there, Reuters reported.

Additionally, since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in neighboring Libya, weapons have circulated in Algeria, the news agency said.

That’s been a boon to al Qaeda’s North African splinter group, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

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