An Algerian girl plays with a sheep ahead of `Eid Al-Adha. (Reuters)
ALGIERS — "You can bomb our cities, kill our loved ones but you can never steal our lives."
This is the message Algerians are sending to militants who stroke yet again days before `Eid Al-Adha, one of the two main religious festivals in the Islamic calendar.
Many people in the North African country are pouring onto the streets to buy new clothes and Udhiyah (sacrificial sheep) for `Eid.
"We have been saddened by the recent bombings in our country and are sorry for the families whose loved ones have perished in the grisly terror attacks," said Saed, a bank accountant.
"But life must go on and Algerians must celebrate `Eid Al-Adha like their fellow Muslims worldwide."
At least 37 were killed and 177 injured last week in two suicide bombings in the capital Algiers.
One of the blasts tore through the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees while the second killed and maimed students packed in a bus outside the Supreme Court building.
The deadly bombings, claimed by Al-Qaeda's North African branch, have been vehemently condemned by the International Union for Muslim Scholars headed by Sheikh Yusuf el-Qaradawi.
It stressed that such heinous crimes can never be claimed as acts of Jihad.
"The Al-Qaeda terrorists have killed the joy in our hearts," said angry Kamal, a peddler.
"This `Eid is senseless."
Yet, most of the streets remained as busy as a bee ahead of `Eid Al-Adha, starting on Wednesday, December 19.
New clothes sell briskly in the capital's stores and shops despite soaring prices.
"Our hearts break for the victims but we cannot deprive our children of the `Eid joy," said Zahiya, a teacher, who has just bought new clothes for her kids.
"May their souls rest in peace."
Sheep markets were also teeming with buyers, causing traffic jams in many parts of the capital.
"I have made such a sale this year," said Eissa, a cattle tradesman.
"Many people have bought rams this year, which is far better than the previous one."
He said the market hitting all time low immediately after the bombings only to picked up steam shortly afterwards.
"By weekend, the sales returned to normal and we worked late into the night to meet the growing demand."
A financially-able Muslim sacrifices a single sheep or goat or shares six others in sacrificing a camel or cow as an act of worship during `Eid.
According to the majority of scholars Udhiyah or sacrifice is a confirmed Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
It reminds Muslims of the great act of sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Isma`eel were willing to make for the sake of God.
The busy streets seem like a defiant message to Al-Qaeda that Algerians would not be cowed and would not allow terrorists to rob them of `Eid.