Bomb explosion strikes crisis-hit Algeria

Five people killed by homemade bomb explosion in Tebessa Province as Algeria is facing one of its worst economic crises, political uncertainty.

ALGIERS - Five people died and three others were wounded when a homemade bomb exploded in eastern Algeria on Thursday, the defense ministry said.

The victims were on board a vehicle when the explosion took place in the Tebessa Province, some 573 km (358 miles) from the capital, Algiers, it said in a statement, without providing further details.

Violence is rarer now in the North African country since authorities ended a war in 1990s with armed Islamists in a conflict that killed 200,000 people.

But al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and small bands of Islamists allied to Islamic State have been active in remote areas.

The bomb explosion, which is likely a terrorist attack came as Algeria, an oil and gas producer, is facing one of its worst economic crises, with annual spending far exceeding the declining revenue from energy sales.

Tebboune had promised a series of reforms to help diversify the economy. But the long absence of the head of state, who also serves Algeria's defense chief, recalled the lengthy disappearances from public view of his predecessor, Bouteflika, for treatment in France of a stroke in 2013 and later in Switzerland for numerous medical check-ups, with lots of speculation and little information on his whereabouts or health.

Bouteflika rarely appeared in public but kept ruling. He was forced to abandon his bid for a fifth term last year before being pushed from office under pressure from street protests and the powerful army.