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January Today in Terrorism

January 29, 2008: Suicide bombing in Algeria

On this day in 2008 a car bomb attack on a police station killed two people and wounded 23 in Thenia, a town east of Algiers

THENIA, ALGERIA – For a country that went through a ‘decade from hell’ from terrorism, yet another almost ten years later seems like an added insult.

The 1990s were a very tough period in Algeria. Following that country’s military’s decision to cancel nationwide elections after it looked like an Islamist party, the Front Islamique du Salut (FIS), was going to win, the country went down a steep slope of violence.

The decade was one of civil war against a terrorist group – the Groupe Islamique Arme (GIA) – which sprang out of the banning of the FIS win. By the time the military finally gained the upper hand some 200,000 Algerians were dead. The official line was that the vote could not be recognised because it was believed that the Islamists’ slogan was ‘one man, one vote, one time’ (i.e. they would do away with democracy after they assumed office: the US also pushed this line in expressing support for the coup).

No question where their votes went (Photo: Anis Belghoul/AP)

You would think that after a decade of bloodshed and 200,000 deaths that Algeria would get a break. In that you would be wrong.

On this day in 2008

A car bomb attack on a police station killed two people and wounded 23 in Thenia, a town east of Algiers. The bombing ripped much of the front wall off a three-storey police building and badly damaged nearby shops and a restaurant. Al Qaeda (AQ), which had claimed two similar earlier attacks, was likely behind this one as well.

The explosion happened at 6.25 a.m. and thank God it didn’t happen at 08.00 a.m. or we would have been killed without a doubt.

Local butcher

Algeria has witnessed other attacks than this one. It appears then that those who use violence to make their point have not had their fill and are not finished yet.

They seldom stop their killing ways.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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