In the evening of Friday October 28, Three unidentified gunmen entered a restaurant in the Ziadia district of Constantine, directly targeting a policeman seated at the restaurant. Three bullets were reportedly fired against the policeman who was hit by at least one lethal shot in the chest from what is said to be an automatic weapon. The gunmen also seized the policeman’s gun in the attack. Units from the army, gendarmerie and the police were dispatched to the crime scene, the police station ‘No.12’ is located less than 200 meters from the site of the assassination. The policeman killed is named as Boukabour Amar from Constantine, he graduated from the Police Shool of Tébessa. A father of two girls.
The attack comes amidst days of reporting on the signaled presence of the leader of Saraya al-Ghuraba, ISIS’s Algerian affiliate in the region of Constantine that broke away from AQIM and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and joined the Islamic State’s Wilayat al-Djazair in July 2015. The mountain range of Djebel Ouahch constitutes the group’s main area of operations. The leader named as Laaouira Nordine or his nom de guerre ‘Abu Hammam’ is 40 years old and from the popular neighborhood of Faubourg in Constantine. According to the latest reports was he visiting his mother in his family home in the city of Ali Mendjeli. Together with the reporting of Laouira’s presence came also warnings on the possibility of attacks with security heightened and security forces setting up checkpoints. Following the killing, combined units launched combing operations over large areas of Constantine and especially in the forests and mountains of the Djebel Ouahch mountain range that connects the provinces of Constantine and Skikda.
The assassination was quickly classified as a terrorist attack according to reports citing security sources, consequently Louaira and his Saraya al-Ghuraba being the main suspects. A slight resurgence of ISIS activity has been noted in the past weeks all incidents within the “triangle” between Constantine, Skikda, and Jijel.
On October 7, reported ISIS’s Amaq News Agency that an IED detonation targeted a convoy of PNA special forces on the road linking Tamalous and Boumagane. Only days later on October 11, a roadside bomb exploded in Guenguita, not causing any injuries but a bus transporting workers passed by only 50 meters away, the explosion also caused panic at a nearby school since fragments from the blast landed close by. The Algerian Ministry of National Defense reported just two days later on October 13 that the PNA in the morning had killed two terrorists in Oued Zhour, again in the Skikda Province close to the provincial border with Jijel, one of the terrorists was said to be the ’emir’ of the Eastern Region named as Saddek Habbache or ‘Abu Dujana’.