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14 killed in Algeria bomb blast

  • Story Highlights
  • Bomb victims waiting for presidential visit
  • Blast went off 15 minutes before president's arrival
  • Algeria faces Islamic insurgency
  • Al Qaeda-affiliated group claimed July attacks
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(CNN) -- At least 14 people were killed and 60 others wounded Thursday when a bomb ripped through a crowd waiting to see Algeria's president in Batna, east of the capital of Algiers, the Algerie Presse Service reported.

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A wounded person gets first aid shortly after Thursday's attack in Batna, Algeria.

The explosion occurred at 5 p.m. about 20 meters (65 feet) from a mosque in Batna, a town about 450 kilometers (280 miles) east of Algiers, security officials in Batna told the state-run news agency.

The bomb went off 15 minutes before the expected arrival of President Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika.

It wasn't clear if the bomb was caused by a suicide bomber or if it was planted, the officials said.

Later Thursday, Algeria's Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said "a suspect person who was among the crowd attempted to go beyond the security cordon," but the person escaped "immediately after the bomb exploded," the press service reported.

Bouteflika made his visit to Batna as planned, adding a stop at a hospital to visit the wounded before he returned to the capital.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.

Algeria faces a continuing Islamic insurgency, according to the CIA.

In July, 33 people were killed in apparent suicide bombings in Algiers that were claimed by an al Qaeda-affiliated group.

Bouteflika said terrorist acts have nothing in common with the noble values of Islam, the press service reported. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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