Algeria blast death toll rises to 19

The death toll from a suicide bomb attack in the Algerian town of Batna has risen to 19, the government of the north African country said on Friday.

The blast also wounded 107 people, according to an interior ministry statement carried by the official APS news agency. The previous official toll was 14 killed and 60 wounded.

The latest statement said 36 of the wounded had gone home after receiving medical attention in hospital.

The blast occurred when the bomber blew himself up in the town 430km south-east of the capital Algiers shortly before a scheduled visit by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Bouteflika, who later visited some of the dozens wounded in hospital, blamed Islamist rebels, denouncing them as “criminals” trying to scuttle his policy of national reconciliation.

The policy is aimed at ending 15 years of fighting between the army and groups trying to set up a purist Islamic state. - Reuters

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