A policeman managed to foil an attempted suicide attack in eastern Algeria on Sunday, opening fire on the bomber and triggering the explosives belt he was wearing, officials said. The botched attack was later claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.
The Algerian national police force said the attacker had been approaching a police station in the city of Constantine when he was shot by the officer.
"An officer who was in front of the police headquarters, underneath a building that is home to a dozen families, responded energetically and heroically after several warnings, targeting with precision the explosive belt worn by a terrorist," police said in a statement cited by APS news agency.
At the time of the attack, around 9pm local time (8pm GMT), a strong explosion was heard near the police station in central Constantine, eastern Algeria's main hub, APS reported.
Two officers were injured in the explosion, according to local reports.
The IS group claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing via its AMAQ news agency on Monday.
"An operation of martyrdom using an explosive in a bag by an Islamic State fighter yesterday targeted an Algerian police station in the Constantine city centre," AMAQ said.
The botched attack comes four months after gunmen shot dead a policeman in a restaurant in northern Constantine, in a rare urban attack believed to have been carried out by a local IS group affiliate.
Despite the adoption in 2005 of a charter for peace and reconciliation, designed to turn the page on the brutal 1991-2002 Algerian civil war that left 200,000 people dead, Islamist groups remain active in the country's south and east, largely targeting security forces.
At least 22 armed Islamists have been killed in these regions since the start of the year, according to an AFP toll based on official figures.'