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Contract workers attacked in Algeria

One employee of a Halliburton affiliate is slain. Nine are hurt.

December 11, 2006|From the Associated Press

ALGIERS — Two vehicles carrying employees of a Halliburton affiliate were bombed and strafed near Algiers on Sunday. An Algerian driver died, and nine people were injured.

The casualties were treated at a nearby hospital and all but one were released, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The patients included an American, several Britons, a Canadian, a Lebanese and an Algerian, it said; it did not specify the nationality of the hospitalized patient.

The attack threatens to tarnish the oil-rich North African nation's security image just as it is enjoying increased foreign investment after a bloody insurgency in the 1990s.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the earlyevening attack.

The employees of Brown & Root-Condor -- an affiliate of U.S. company Halliburton that has contracts with Algeria's oil and defense industries -- had been leaving work for their Sheraton Hotel residence about nine miles west of Algiers. Most were in a bus following a security vehicle.

The assailants hurled a bomb at the security vehicle, immediately killing the driver, security officials said.

Attackers then opened fire on the bus, which quickly turned around and left, witnesses said, and the gunmen dispersed.

Algerian security forces fanned out through the area and blocked off roads.

Some visibly shaken employees arrived at the hotel later Sunday but refused to speak to reporters.

Attacks on U.S. targets are rare in Algeria, a former French colony.

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