'Independence Day' bomb blast kills 29 in Algeria

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The Independent Online

A bomb exploded today at an open-air market east of Algiers, killing 29 people and injuring 37 others, according to the official APS news agency.

A bomb exploded today at an open-air market east of Algiers, killing 29 people and injuring 37 others, according to the official APS news agency.

The attack - the worst killing of civilians in the country this year - came on the day that Algerians celebrate their independence from France, won after a brutal seven-year war.

The bomb exploded at the Larba market, nearly 15 miles southeast of the capital, APS said, quoting a statement from military authorities in charge of the Algiers area. Further information was not immediately available.

An estimated 120,000 people have been killed since the violence started in 1992 after the army aborted legislative elections to thwart victory by a Muslim fundamentalist party.

Extremists have been blamed for most bombings and other attacks. The Larba area was long a haunt of the radical Armed Islamic Group, blamed for most civilian massacres.

Security forces were thought to have largely cleaned out the area around Algiers and the area to the south, the Mitidja Plain, an agricultural zone parts of which were once controlled by extremists.

However, violence has recently stepped up in the Muslim North African nation, with gangs of armed men targeting public transport and isolated hamlets.

In the past month, 25 people were killed in three separate attacks on buses, one not far from Larba.

Security has been tightened around the capital since Monday ahead of independence day. France ruled Algeria for more than 130 years.

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