Reports of Algeria bombing apparently false

/ Source: news services

Algerian state radio denied reports Monday that a bomb had exploded at a bus station east of Algiers.

A security source earlier told Reuters that a bomb went off at Bouira, some 75 miles from the capital, killing 20 people.

There was no further explanation for the error.

There have been three deadly bomb attacks in the past week in regions east of the capital of the oil and gas exporting North African country.

On Sunday, two bombs in quick succession killed 2 people, including a French engineer and his Algerian chauffuer. The Defense Ministry on Monday denied weekend reports that 13 people had died in that bombing.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Algeria's al-Qaida affiliate, al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, is known to be active in the area.

Other attacksThe North African nation's Islamic militants have mounted several attacks over the past week. On Wednesday, a suicide attack on a military barracks and a second bombing at a cafe shook a beach neighborhood outside the Algerian capital, wounding six people. A day later, a roadside bomb killed six soldiers in the city of Boumerdes.

The attacks of the past week have come as Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika prepares to inaugurate an international trade fair Monday outside Algiers, a high-profile event that will draw members of foreign governments.

Though Algeria has battled an Islamic insurgency for years, the number of attacks has risen dramatically since the country's main militant group vowed allegiance to al-Qaida in 2006.

Most of the country's bombings have been claimed by al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, formerly known as the GSPC. The group grew out of an insurgency that raged in the country in the 1990s. The violence, which has left as many as 200,000 dead, was prompted by the army's cancellation of legislative elections in 1992 that an Islamist party was poised to win.

Many attacks in Algeria have targeted the national security services and military, while others have struck foreigners. Sunday's attack was apparently crafted to hit both of those targets. In December, a double suicide bombing in Algiers killed 41 people, including 17 U.N. workers. In April 2007, coordinated suicide strikes against the main government offices in central Algiers and a police station killed 33.