Britain moves embassy in Algiers over security fears

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The Independent Online

Britain has closed its embassy building in Algiers because of fears of an attack and has moved staff into a hotel for safety, a diplomat said yesterday.

Jim Currie, Britain's deputy head of mission in Algeria, said the decision followed a global review of security after a suicide truck bombing at the British consulate in Istanbul in November that left the consul among the 25 dead. "We took the decision right after the bombing in Istanbul to reinforce our embassy security around the world," Mr Currie told a news conference in Algiers.

He did not say whether there was a specific threat in Algeria, which is emerging from a decade of violence and holds a presidential election next month.

Embassy staff would live and work in the Hilton hotel in Algiers, Mr Currie said. Some operations, such as the issuing of visas by mail, would be handled from Tunis.

A western diplomat was reported as saying that the British were unsatisfied with the security offered by the Algerian authorities. Algerian officials were not available for comment.

Violence linked to Islamic rebels has left more than 150,000 dead in Algeria over the past decade, rights groups say.