A crowd of young men line up outside a police barracks, waiting for word that they may enter and begin the entrance test that could provide them with a job and a more secure way of life. They smoke cigarettes, talk among themselves and look to the morning ahead, not heeding the car packed with explosives bearing down on them and the building beyond. The collision is sudden and startling, the explosive blast deafening. When the dust and debris settle, at least 43 people are dead and more than 45 wounded in an obvious suicide attack.
The scene could be Iraq or Afghanistan, and the tactics taken from the playbook of extremists there. But it was in Algeria, one in a series of recent strikes bearing the hallmarks of an expansive al-Qaida terror network. The following day, at least 11 more Algerians died when a suicide car bomber targeted a bus near a hotel in the city of Bouria and another struck the local military headquarters.
As al-Qaida groups suffer setbacks in the pacification and reconstruction of Iraq, the network continues to show its teeth elsewhere. A local insurgency in North Africa has tied into the group and recruits who were formerly bent on fighting in Iraq are staying home to wreak havoc on their countrymen, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Their attacks are a reminder that these extremists are still very much with us, and can strike any time and anywhere.
There is no political cause that justifies the murder of innocent civilians, none. The United States strongly condemns the attacks and extends its deepest condolences to the families of those killed and wounded. It also stands steadfast with the Algerian people in their quest for peace and security.