ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian police shot dead an Islamist militant wearing a suicide bomb belt when he tried to attack a small town mayor’s office east of the capital Algiers, local Ennahar television said, citing a statement from police on Thursday.
Police chased and shot the man on Wednesday night in Maatkas, near Tizi Ouzou, before he could detonate his belt, according to the statement on Ennahar. Security officials were not immediately available to confirm the details.
Bombings and shootings have become rare in Algeria since the North African state emerged from a 1990s decade of war with Islamist militants that killed 200,000 people. But al Qaeda’s North Africa branch and Islamic State affiliates operate in remotes part of the vast, oil-exporting country.
The last attempted suicide attack in Algeria was also in Tizi Ouzou when a militant tried to drive a bomb-packed truck into a police headquarters in the city, injuring 29 people.
Tizi Ouzou, 60 miles (100 km) east of Algiers, was a former stronghold of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Mark Heinrich