Bomb attacks in Algeria, explosions in Morocco: an omen of things to come

11 April 2007: As Moroccan security forces hunted for as many as a dozen potential suicide bombers in and around Casablanca, bombings attributed to al Qaeda killed 30 people in the Algerian capital of Algiers today, raising fears of an increase of Islamic violence worse than that country experienced in the 1990s.

One of the blasts, believed to be a suicide bombing, ripped part of the facade off the prime minister’s headquarters in the center of Algiers. A second bomb hit Bab Ezzouar on its eastern outskirts. The Islamic Maghreb, an al Qaeda group formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), issued an Internet statement claiming responsibility for both the Algerian and Moroccan bombings, and posted pictures of three suicide bombers labeled as “martyrs.”

Violence in Algeria began in 1992 after a parliamentary election that was set up to have an Islamist political party win was scrapped. Up to 200,000 people were killed in the ensuing bloodshed, mitigated only by government amnesty issued to the Islamic “radicals.”

Accounts of the incidents in the Moroccan Daily Aujourd’hui le Maroc said that the events amounted to a “world war.” While some sources in Morocco suggest that the recent bombings were the work of Moroccans working alone, Mohamed Darif, a specialist on Islamism in Morocco, suggested that the bombings had foreign links, specifically to al Qaeda.