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Death Toll from Bomb Blasts in Algeria Rises to 33


Algeria's official news agency (APS) says the death toll from Wednesday's suicide bombings in the capital has risen to 33.

More than 200 others were wounded in the two car bombings - one, outside the office of Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem in central Algiers, and the second, at a police station in the Bab Ezzouar district in the city's eastern outskirts.

Mr. Belkhadem condemned the attacks, calling them "provocative" actions by terrorists ahead of next month's parliamentary election.

The "al-Qaida Organization in the Islamic Maghreb" posted a statement on the Internet claiming responsibility for the attacks, and published photos of what it said were three suicide bombers.

The claim could not be independently confirmed.

The United States and Algeria's former colonial power, France, condemned the attacks.

France's Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said he was horrified by the bombings. He assured Algerian authorities of France's solidarity in Algeria's fight against terrorism.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called the attacks a "despicable act of terrorism."

The al-Qaida Organization in the Islamic Maghreb, formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, has claimed responsibility for other recent bombings in Algeria.

Last month, the group bombed a bus carrying employees of a Russian firm, killing one Russian and three Algerians. In December, two people died in a bomb attack on a bus carrying employees of an affiliate of the U.S. corporation, Halliburton.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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