Bomb kills 4 Algerian policemen; al-Qaida branch claims responsibility

A car bomb exploded near a police station in a town east of the Algerian capital, killing at least four officers and injuring 20 people, officials and witnesses said. A news report said an al-Qaida branch claimed responsibility. The blast on Wednesday followed twin suicide bombings on Dec. 11 at UN offices and a government building that killed at least 37 people in the capital of Algiers. A local journalist and another resident described the car speeding toward the police station and exploding. The two, who refused to be identified, citing safety concerns, said the attack appeared to be a suicide bombing. The Interior Ministry said the attack killed at least four police officers and injured 20 other people, including eight officers. The ministry provided no details other than saying that the bombing was close to the police station in Naciria, about 70 kilometers east of the capital, Algiers. The explosion tore off the front of the police station and damaged neighboring buildings. Security forces cordoned off the rubble-strewn ruins.