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Bomb Kills Seven in Algiers Mosque

October 11, 1997

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ A bomb exploded in an Algiers mosque at Friday prayer, killing seven people and injuring up to 20 others, said residents of the neighborhood where the mosque is located.

The bomb attack was the first one inside a mosque since violence erupted in this North African nation 5 1/2 years ago.

There were no firm details on the attack, which was not confirmed by authorities, and no claim of responsibility.

The mosque is located in the Puit des Zouaves neighborhood in the hills above the Mediterranean port capital.

Residents said seven people were killed and 20 injured.

Last month, a gun attack killed a prayer leader inside his mosque in the eastern city of Constantine. The victim was a candidate of the moderate Muslim fundamentalist party Ennahda in local elections, scheduled for Oct. 23.

There has been little recent violence inside Algiers, but hundreds of people have been killed in massacres just outside the capital.

The radical insurgency organization the Armed Islamic Group has claimed responsibility for the killings, justifying the deaths as necessary to its holy war. The group seeks to destabilize the military-backed government and create a state based on Koranic law.

An estimated 75,000 people have been killed since the start of the Islamic insurgency waged since the army canceled January 1992 legislative elections to thwart a victory by a Muslim fundamentalist party.

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