Two policemen killed in Algeria attack

2012-06-16 22:13

Algiers - Two police officers were killed and two others wounded in Algeria when armed men attacked police barracks east of the capital Algiers, residents said on Saturday.

Three civilians, including a little girl, were also hurt in the half-hour attack late Friday at Ouacifs near Tizi Ouzou, 110km east of Algiers.

Security officials quoted by the state APS news agency said the attackers cut the telephone and electricity lines of the nearby security and police headquarters before opening fire on the two buildings with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

The assailants later fled the scene.

Algeria's police chief, General Abdelghani Hamel, has warned that "the terrorist threat remains in all regions of Algeria".

The fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya last year and the ensuing influx of arms and foreign fighters it triggered across the Sahel has heightened tensions along Algeria's eastern and southern borders.

Media reported earlier this month that security forces killed six al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in the Kabylie region, including three in the region's main town of Tizi Ouzou, on 5 June.

A cell affiliated to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which was born out of hardline groups that emerged during Algeria's 1990s civil conflict, had been spotted in the region earlier.