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37 Men Arrested in Connection with Attack on Algiers Courthouse

January 21, 1990

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ Authorities arrested 37 Moslem fundamentalists in connection with an attack at a trial in an Algerian courthouse that killed three people, the French news agency Agence France-Presse reported Sunday.

A Shiite Moslem group, the Tradition of the Prophet and Islamic Law, claimed responsibility for the attack, which was stopped by a gunbattle that killed an 18-year-old gendarme and two of the assailants.

The incident occurred Tuesday in Blida, an Algiers suburb.

Several assailants yelling ″God is great 3/8″ burst into the courtroom and took several hostages during the trial of an elderly man accused of killing his wife. Authorities surrounded the courtroom, and gunfire broke out. The hostages were freed.

An investigating magistrate on Saturday night began questioning the 37 men, who were arrested in the area, AFP said. Four men had been charged with taking hostages and mounting an attack with a deadly weapon, the news agency said.

Police had no idea what prompted the attack and knew little about the group that claimed responsibility.

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