December 11, 2007 Algiers bombings

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2007 Algiers bombings
Algiers location.svg
Location Algiers, Algeria
Date 11 December 2007
09:30 (GMT+1)
Target United Nations, Constitutional Court
Attack type
suicide bombings
Deaths 41 (incl. 17 UN staff)[1]
Non-fatal injuries
170
Perpetrators claimed by al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb

There were two near simultaneous bombings in Algiers which occurred on 11 December 2007 when two car bombs exploded 10 minutes apart starting at around 9:30 a.m. local time, in the Algerian capital Algiers.[2] The al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the attacks, stating that it was "another successful conquest […] carried out by the Knights of the Faith with their blood in defense of the wounded nation of Islam."[2][3] These attacks constitute another act of violence in the ongoing Islamic insurgency, a continuation of the Algerian Civil War that has claimed 200,000 lives.[4][5]

Targets[edit]

Two car bombs containing 800 kg (1,700 lb) of explosives each were used in the bombings.[6] The first explosion occurred in the Ben Aknoun district, near the Supreme Constitutional Court. This was followed ten minutes later by a second blast on the road that separates the United Nations offices from the offices of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in the Hydra neighborhood.[7] The United Nations building partially collapsed in the explosion while the UNHCR offices were "leveled" according to a UNHCR official.[8] The United Nations building housed the offices of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Department of Safety and Security (DSS) and the Population Fund (UNFPA).[9] The collapsed section mainly housed the UNDP.[6]

The attack against the UN office was a suicide bombing.[6] It is as yet unknown whether the same is true for the Constitutional Court attack.

The attack caused the third highest staff casualties in the history of the United Nations, after the 2003 Canal Hotel bombing, which targeted the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq and also killed the Secretary-General's Special Representative to Iraq Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 other staff members[2] and the 2010 Haiti earthquake in which 22 UN peacekeepers have been confirmed dead as of January 14, 2010; and 150 missing. The Head of MINUSTAH was killed in the disaster.

Casualties[edit]

The bombings are believed to have killed at least 31 people. Among the dead were 17 United Nations employees at work in their offices, including 14 Algerians and a Dane, a Filipino, and a Senegalese.[10] A Chinese construction worker was also killed.[11] This official death toll, provided by Algerian Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni, conflicts with numbers reported by hospital and rescue officials, which triple the government's count.[2][8]

Many people are still unaccounted for. A number of them are possibly still trapped under the rubble, according to UN spokeswoman Maria Okabe. Jean Fabre, head of the UN Development Programme's Geneva office, indicated they were still searching for survivors in the rubble.[2]

177 people were injured in total, according to Zerhouni.[2] CNN has confirmed that the bombers used homemade nitroglycerin bombs, which had iron nails in them to increase casualties.[2]

The United Nations Security Council held an official meeting on the same day in order to condemn the attacks.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Qaeda in north Africa says kills 20 Algeria troops - International Herald Tribune
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "11 UN workers among 26 killed in Algeria blasts". CBC News. 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  3. ^ "Al-Qaeda claims Algeria bombings". Al Jazeera. 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  4. ^ "Algeria puts strife toll at 150,000". Al Jazeera. 2005-02-25. Retrieved 2007-12-12.  Note that the 150,000 figure was given on February 2005, and the Reuters article from June 2007 (below) includes an updated figure of 200,000 casualties.
  5. ^ "Algeria violence death toll at year low in May". Reuters. 2007-06-04. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  6. ^ a b c "UN review after Algiers bombing". BBC News. 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  7. ^ "UNHCR chief condemns Algiers bombing; mourns dead". UNHCR. 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  8. ^ a b "Rescuers search for bomb survivors". CNN. 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  9. ^ "UN in Grief at Algeria Bombings". Associated Press. 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2007-12-12. [dead link]
  10. ^ "UN death toll in Algeria raised to 17". Associated Press. 2007-12-14. Archived from the original on 2007-12-16. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  11. ^ "Chinese company sends mission to Algeria to mourn bombing victim". Xinhua. 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  12. ^ United Nations Security Council Verbatim Report 5798. S/PV/5798 11 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-21.

External links[edit]