Algeria – Unrest – Gas – Terrorists

Rockets Hit Algeria Gas Plant in Attack Claimed by Al-Qaeda

Rockets Hit Algeria Gas Plant in Attack Claimed by Al-Qaeda
Sat Mar 19, 2016 09:17:33

Rockets on Friday struck an Algerian gas plant run by foreign energy giants in an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda, three years after a deadly hostage crisis at another facility in the country.

There were no casualties reported in the attack on the plant operated by Britain’s BP, Norway’s Statoil and Algerian company Sonatrach.

It was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) on its Telegram channel in a message saying that it comes within its “war on the interest of the Crusaders in every place,” according to SITE Intelligence Group.

Friday’s attack was the most serious since other Al-Qaeda-linked militants stormed a complex in Algeria’s remote east in 2013 and began a four-day siege that left dozens dead.

The defense ministry said two homemade rockets crashed near a guard post of a Sonatrach facility in Krechba, 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) south of Algiers, without causing casualties or damage.

“The rapid reaction of the army detachment tasked with protecting the site foiled this attempted terrorist attack,” it said in an online statement, without elaborating.

Statoil said the gas asset was hit by “explosive munitions fired from a distance” in the early morning attack.

A processing facility was shut down “as a safety precaution,” BP said.

A plant employee who did not wish to be named told AFP that the site is surrounded by a security fence and soldiers are permanently on guard.

“The rockets seem to have been fired from very far away,” he said.

Military personnel mobilized soon after the rocket fire to prevent the attackers gaining access to the facility, the employee added.

Algeria’s official news agency APS said “two terrorists fired homemade rockets on the gas plant in Krechba,” using Algeria’s official term for terrorist militants.

A manhunt was launched to find the attackers, it said.

S/SH 11

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