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Iran Press TV

N Africa al-Qaeda branch claims Algeria gas plant attack

Iran Press TV

Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:16AM

Al-Qaeda's North African affiliate has claimed responsibility for an attack on an Algerian gas plant in the Sahara operated by the British Petroleum (BP) and Norwegian Statoil.

The al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack on the In Salah plant in a statement on Saturday, saying the bombing was in response to shale gas extraction.

Although no casualties were reported in the attack, the facility was closed as a precaution. State energy company Sonatrach also said the country's gas production had not been affected.

The statement added that the government had suppressed demonstrations against pollution from extractions in the region. The group threatened both the Algerian government and Western companies.

"Even if your (Algeria's) Western masters believed you were in control previously, how will you justify your position now?' AQIM said.

The Algerian Defense Ministry said two homemade rocket shells targeted an area near the production site on Saturday.

The AQIM has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks across the the North African region in recent months, including a shooting attack in Ivory Coast which left nearly 20 people dead, last week.

Back in 2013, nearly 40 people lost their lives in a hostage-taking at another gas plant in Algeria, In Amenas gas plant, also operated by BP and Statoil. The country's oil and gas infrastructure has been heavily protected by the army since.

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