Terrorists hurled a bomb and shot at two vehicles carrying employees of Halliburton affiliate BRC near Algiers on Sunday, killing one driver and injuring nine people. The driver was Algerian. The injured included one American, several Britons, one Canadian, one Lebanese and one Algerian. Eight were treated in a nearby hospital and released, while one remained hospitalized.
The attack threatened to stain the oil-rich North African nation's international security image just as it is enjoying an oil boom and increased foreign investment after a bloody insurgency that wracked Algeria in the 1990s. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
"If it is terrorism, that would indicate that the affiliate of Halliburton has been targeted for its role in Iraq. It has been seen as a firm that has hoarded Iraqi riches," a security source said. "If it is criminality, that would mean that the local mafia wants to block the opening of the economy and economic transparency. This mafia wants the status quo and to preserve monopoly situations."
Most of the employees were in a bus following behind a security vehicle. The terrorists hurled a bomb at the first vehicle, immediately killing the driver. Attackers then opened fire on the second bus, which quickly turned around and left before the gunmen dispersed. Algerian security forces immediately fanned out through the surrounding area and blocked off roads.
BRC is an Algerian-registered company created in 1994 and now owned jointly by Halliburton subsidiary KBR Inc., formerly known as Kellogg, Brown & Root, and affiliates of Algerian state-owned oil company Sonatrach. BRC has contracts with Algeria's oil and defense industries.
UPDATE 12/12 @ 10:31: The attack has been claimed by al-Qaeda affiliate GSPC, who said that it was a "gift to all Muslims."