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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Attacks in Algeria Raise Fears That Al-Qaida Is Regrouping

ALGIERS, Algeria -- Police were out in force in Algeria's capital Thursday, establishing checkpoints after suicide attacks claimed by al-Qaida killed 24 people and injured 222 others.

Wednesday's bombings lent credence to fears that al-Qaida's new wing in North Africa is coalescing into a deadly, possibly regionwide, threat.

The group that claimed responsibility, al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, was built on the foundations of an Algerian group fighting the nation's secular government, the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, known by the French abbreviation GSPC.

The new al-Qaida wing has carried out a series of recent bombings jeopardizing Algeria's tentative peace. The country, a staunch U.S. ally in the war against terrorism, has been trying to recover from the 15-year insurgency, which killed 200,000 people.

Until recently, Algeria's peace efforts seemed successful: Military crackdowns and amnesty offers had turned militants into a ragtag assembly in rural hideouts.

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem, who was not in his office during the attack, called the bombings a "cowardly, criminal terrorist act." Parts of six floors of the building housing his office and those of the Interior Ministry were ripped away.

n The group behind the attacks in Algiers has members in Europe and is targeting France, French presidential candidate and former Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday, Bloomberg reported.

"The principal menace to France comes from Algeria, from the GSPC network that has transformed into al-Qaida,'' he said in a radio interview. "They have members in several European countries, including France."