Militants launch rocket attack at Algerian BP/Statoil gas plant, no casualties

Reuters , Friday 18 Mar 2016

Gas field
File photo of the gas field in Amenas, Algeria in this handout photo provided by Scanpix. (Photo: Reuters)

Militants attacked an Algerian gas plant operated by Norway's Statoil and BP with rocket-propelled grenades on Friday, but there were no casualties or damage, the companies and sources said.

Algeria's energy infrastructure is heavily protected by the army especially since the 2013 Islamist militant attack on the In Amenas gas plant, also operated by BP and Statoil, during which 40 oil workers were killed.

Stateoil said in a statement that the gas facility was hit by explosive munitions from a distance.

"In the early morning, three or four rocket propelled grenades hit a central processing facility, there were no casualties or damage reported," an industry source.

The Algerian army were controlling the area and pursuing the attackers. BP said in a statement that the facility had been closed down as a safety precaution.

Militant attacks in Algeria, one of Europe's main gas suppliers, have become rarer since the North African country emerged from a 1990s war with Islamist fighters that killed around 200,000 people.

But Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and its affiliates, and fighters allied with Islamic State (IS) group, are active in remote pockets of the country, mainly in the desert south and the mountains east of the capital Algiers.

Algeria and other North African countries are also increasingly worried about the rapid expansion of IS group over their border in Libya, where the militant group has taken over the city of Sirte and attacked oilfields and ports.

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