El Khabar is reporting that Algerian police foiled a plot to launch a suicide bombing on the Presidential Palace in the El-Mouradia, a suburb of Algiers, today. El-Mouradia is home both the Presidential Palace and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Led by a 60-year old man known locally as `Ammi `Abdallah (Uncle Abdallah), the attack would have involved multiple suicide bombers (the plot involved 33 candidates; 14 others were arrested), using car bombs striking the Presidential Palace from the rear; `Ammi `Abdallah’s home is located on a street behind the President’s residence in El-Mouradia, close to former Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem’s home. His domicile is described as a “luxurious villa,” similar to most of the homes in El-Mouradia, home to much of Algeria’s power elite.
Early in September, AQIM released a communiqué announcing their intention to launch an attack on El-Mouradia. Last December, simultaneous bombings in Ben Aknoun and Hydra damaged the Supreme Court and the UNHCR and UNDP offices (though most foreign commentators and media outlets remember only that the UN’s offices were attacked).
The plan was as bold as it was potentially explosive: Its success would likely have instigated a whole new offensive against the AQIM bases in the eastern mountains, and might have even brought back the éradicateur impulses laying low below the mustaches in the Interior and Defense Ministries. Even more, it could serve to discredit Bouteflika and vindicate those who have opposed his less militant stance towards AQIM (and former insurgents), perhaps drawing the country into a more violent post-civil war period. It would have been to the political benefit of what is left of the more ambitious elements of the officer caste. It would have further benefited AQIM, by giving their inactive (or retired) members a reason to rejoin the fight against the government, and for potential recruits to do the same. It could have possibly ignited a second civil war or something close to it.