( AP ) - Two car bombs, including one that targeted the U.N. refugee agency's offices, killed at least 45 people in the Algerian capital Tuesday, authorities said.
The civil protection agency said one attack killed 30 people and that a second blast left another 15 people dead. The blasts hurled chunks of rubble across roads and peeled away parts of the facade of at least one building, exposing its brick skeleton.
Ron Redmond, chief spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said that a head count was under way to determine where the agency's staff members were.
"There were some injuries among staff but we don't have details on that," he said.
Redmond told The Associated Press that the explosion happened about 9:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m.) in a street where the offices of the UNHCR and the U.N. Development Program are both located.
"What is suspected to be a car bomb went off in the street," he said.
Public radio, Algiers Network 3, said the two bombs went off about 10 minutes apart. Some victims of one of the attacks had been riding a school bus, the official news agency APS said.
Although there were no immediate claims of responsibility, suspicions quickly focused on the North African wing of al-Qaida.
The date - the 11th - could point to an Islamic terror link. Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa claimed responsibility for attacks on April 11 that hit the prime minister's office and a police station, killing 33 people.
Algeria has been battling Islamic insurgents since the early 1990s, when the army canceled the second round of the country's first-ever multiparty elections, stepping in to prevent likely victory by an Islamic fundamentalist party.
Islamist armed groups then turned to force to overthrow the government, with up to 200,000 people killed in the ensuing violence.
The last year has seen a series of bombings against state targets, many of them suicide attacks.
Recent bombings have been claimed by al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa. That was the name adopted in January after the remnants of the insurgency, the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, or GSPC, formally linked with al-Qaida.
Once focused on toppling the Algerian government, the group has now turned its sights on international holy war and the fight against Western interests. French counterterrorism officials say it is drawing members from across North Africa.
A Sept. 6 attack during President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's visit to the eastern city of Batna killed 22 people, and a suicide bombing two days later on a coast guard barracks in the town of Dellys left at least 28 dead.