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Algeria hit by surge in guerrilla violence

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  • Algeria hit by surge in guerrilla violence

    Islamist fighters are stepping up attacks in Algeria to torpedo government efforts to end years of violence and raise morale in an insurgency long in decline.

    The violence, accompanied by a publicity drive that included a video of a prison service official’s throat being slit, are also intended to alleviate military pressure on guerrillas still fighting for a purist Islamic state, analysts say.

    Security experts blame the bloodshed on the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), a radical Islamist group that has rejected an amnesty offered by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to try to end more than a decade of violence.

    "The GSPC is sending a strong message to those who might be tempted to accept the amnesty offer and surrender. The message is ‘if you dare to surrender we will catch you and kill you’," security specialist and editor Mounir Boudjema told Reuters.

    Oil exporter Algeria plunged into conflict in early 1992 after the then military-backed authorities scrapped a parliamentary election that radical Islamists were set to win.

    The violence claimed up to 200,000 lives and $20 billion in economic losses due to a sabotage campaign by Islamic rebels.

    Thousands of Islamist guerrillas gave themselves up under a partial amnesty announced in 2000, and several dozen have come down from the hills under the latest initiative, which entered into force in February and expires in August.

    Several hundred guerrillas are believed to remain at large.

    On June 11, two soldiers and a communal guard were seriously injured by the explosion of a bomb in the region of Skikda, 700 kilometers (430 miles) east of the capital Algiers.

    A day later, the GSPC posted a video on an Islamist site showing the slitting of the throat of a prison guard. On June 13, a soldier was killed and three were wounded by two bombs in Skikda and Sidi Bel Abbes, 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of Algiers.

    Over the next three days 10 people were killed by rebels within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of Algiers.

    Officials were not immediately available to comment.

    Influential daily El Watan ran an editorial on June 20 accusing the government of apathy towards the attacks.

    "Elsewhere, in developed countries, when a state agent is a victim of terrorism, the highest official authorities honor him and civil society mobilizes to express its rejection of barbarity... We are far from this in Algeria," El Watan said.

    Defenders of the government say it has remained relatively silent on the attacks for two reasons - so as not to complicate delicate efforts to negotiate the surrender of existing rebels, and to deny the insurgency the oxygen of publicity.

    Others say the army was still after the rebels. In June alone, several Islamist rebels have been killed and dozens of weapons recovered in eastern Algeria. A security source who asked not to be identified, said 15 rebels have been killed in the past week in the Boumerdes region, and 3 have surrendered.

    "It is an escalation, and the GSPC’s number one goal is to alleviate pressure over the rebels who are surrounded in the mountains by the military," security analyst Ahmed Alouane said.


  • #2
    Algeria cracking down on resisting gunmen


    • #3
      Five Algerians die in rebel ambush


      • #4
        ALGIERS - Suspected Islamist gunmen have killed six soldiers in an ambush east of Algiers, according to a security source.

        The attack was the latest in an escalating series, apparently aimed at wrecking Algerian peace efforts.

        Three soldiers were also wounded in the attack on Wednesday evening, local time, 15km east of Bouira, a provincial town about 120km east of the capital.

        "The convoy was surprised by an ambush when it was returning to a military camp," the source said. "Six men were killed."

        It was the largest single loss sustained by the army in several weeks.

        Analysts say Islamist fighters are stepping up attacks to torpedo government efforts to end years of violence and raise morale in an insurgency long in decline.

        The army, in response, has killed tens of Islamist rebels and seized dozens of weapons this month in raids on rebel hideouts in eastern Algeria.

        Security experts attribute the rebel attacks to the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), radical Islamists who have rejected an amnesty offered by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to try to end more than a decade of violence.

        Wednesday's attacks happened a day after Islamist fighters shot dead five Algerian farmers and slit their throats in a mountainous area near Blida, 60km south of Algiers.



        • #5
          GSPC claims last terrorist attacks


          • #6
            ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian government forces killed 19 Islamist militants in attacks on mountain hideouts of rebels who have rejected an amnesty aimed at ending years of strife, newspapers reported on Monday.

            Backed by helicopters, some 800 troops and paramilitary police raided bases of the rebel Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) on Sunday in the eastern province of Annaba, 600 km (375 miles) from the capital Algiers, dailies Liberte and L'Expression said, citing security sources.

            Authorities were not immediately available for comment.

            The operation, which is still going on, was launched following an upsurge in attacks by Islamist radicals this month in which some 31 people were killed.

            Most of the killings are believed by security experts to have been carried out by the GSPC, Algeria's largest outlawed rebel movement which has opposed laying down arms in exchange for an amnesty offered by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

            The peace offer, which entered into force in February and will expire next August, gave Islamic guerrillas six months to surrender and receive a pardon provided they were not responsible for massacres, rapes or bombings of public places.

            The government said recently that some 800 rebels were still active....

            Algeria forces kill 19 Islamic militants: reports


            • #7
              "...Liberte reported that the regional emir of the group, identified as Merouani, 40, was among those killed.

              There was no official comment on the operation, and it was not known whether any troops also were killed. Algerian authorities rarely comment on military operations to snuff out the insurgency.

              Intense bombing was carried out a day ahead of the assault on the hideout in the Edough Mont, newspapers said. Operations were continuing, with the army reportedly determined to clean up the region, papers said..."

              19 Islamic insurgents reportedly killed by Algerian military


              • #8
                The Algerian army has killed more than 20 suspected Islamic terrorists in separate raids in the east of the country, local media reported Monday. Near Annaba, some 600 kilometres east of the capital Algiers, army units killed 19 suspected members of the GSPC terrorist group in a sweep of the region that began Friday.

                In addition, two suspected terrorists were killed Sunday near the city of Boumerdes, 50 kilometres east of Algiers, following the assassination of a local police chief.

                In another raid, one soldier was killed and a police officer gravely injured in the explosion of a homemade bomb near Jijel, 360 kilometres east of the capital.

                Algerian army kills more than 20 suspected terrorists


                • #9
                  The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) in Algeria issued a statement dated Monday, June 26, 2006, responding to claims in the media that nineteen of its Mujahideen were killed that day by Algerian forces in an attack on their posts in mountain of Edough, in Annaba, east of the capital Algiers. The group denies that this report is true, citing it from a Mediterranean broadcast of al-Jazeera and the Algeria publication, “Le Soir d’Algerie,” and argues that the story is a fabrication meant to “relieve the pressure of the hits it [Algerian forces] got and is still getting every day, Allah Willing, from the brave Mujahideen”.

                  According to media reports, a combined Algerian force of roughly 800 soldiers, police and militia members launched an assault on the GSPC’s hideout on June 26 in the Edough mountains in Annaba, killing nineteen Mujahideen including the regional emir, identified as “Merouani”.

                  The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) in Algeria denies reports that nineteen of its mujahideen were killed by Algeria forces in Annaba


                  • #10
                    2 soldiers and 2 communal guards killed in attacks in Skikda and Bouira


                    • #11
                      Overnight on Thursday / Friday a terrorist group attacked an outpost in Albalouta, a mountain area located 20 km east of Jijel town. The attack, in which terrorists used an RPG rocket launcher, caused the death of two communal guards and the wounding of 11 others. The outpost was burned and completely destroyed.

                      According to well informed sources, the attack occurred at about midnight, and the terrorists used a spotlight to blind the guards and create a panic among them, two RPG rockets were then launched towards the outpost. The first shell destroyed one of the control towers, a part of which collapsed, the second targeted another side of the outpost. The terrorists then pursued their attack by opening fire with machine guns. A gunfight lasting round an hour the ensued between the terrorists and the communal guards, killing two among the latter and wounding 11 others.

                      Our sources said that the group was made up of 15 members led by a woman wearing a military uniform. She is believed to be from one of the remnant members of Seddat squadrons or the other squadrons belonging to the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). The terrorist group entered the outpost and took four weapons (three Seminov and one Kalashnikov), and burned the equipment in the outpost before leaving. The two bodies of the dead communal guards were found charred inside the outpost.

                      The army, gendarmes and civil protection elements later arrived, and the victims were transported to the hospital of Tahir, Jijel. Four wounded communal guards are still in the hospital. Joint security forces started a sweep operation on the mountains in the area in search of the perpetrators of the terrorist attack. Security reinforcements and helicopters were noted on the scene, Thursday.

                      2 communal guards killed, 11 wounded in attack on outpost east of Jijel


                      • #12
                        Algerian military leader General Ahmed Salah Gaid has said that the armed forces would continue their "fight against terrorism" which he said was contrary to the country's culture and religion.

                        Violence blamed on armed Islamist groups opposed to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's policy of national reconciliation has escalated since the start of June but Salah Gaid said the army would enforce Algeria's peace charter.

                        The charter put forward by the president and adopted in a referendum in September last year promises clemency to Islamic militants blamed for up to 200,000 deaths since 1992 and compensation for victims of their war with the security forces.

                        The army "will continue its fight against terrorism until this scourge which is contrary to our culture and the precepts of our holy religion is definitively wiped out," public television quoted Salah Gaid as saying.

                        Salah Gaid, who is chief of staff, was speaking during a ceremony at the EMIA military academy in Cherchell, west of Algiers, in the presence of the head of state.

                        Algerian chief vows to fight rebels


                        • #13
                          A homemade bomb exploded on Thursday, inside the car market of Tidjellabine, wilaya of Boumerdes, leaving two communal guards dead and two others wounded.

                          The terrorists are believed to have activated the bomb from long-distance, choosing the rush-hour at the opening of the market to customers, that is, around 5:00 a.m. sources say.

                          It is believed that the bomb was planted near a tree at the market’s entrance, before it was activated through a cellular phone, the same sources say. The blast provoked terror and panic among the people inside the market, which is visited by thousands of people, car sellers and buyers, coming from the various wilayas of the country.

                          Elements of the national Gendarmerie intervened and took charge of traffic movement outside the market. At the same time, the joint security forces started a sweep operation in this mountainous area in search of the terrorists.

                          Thursday’s terrorist attack is the second of its kind to target the car market after last month’s blast, which resulted in two wounded. Another bomb exploded in the martyrs’ square, in the commune of Ammal, where three communal guards were wounded.

                          In addition, on Thursday morning a terrorist group comprising an unknown number of persons killed a 39-year-old communal guard in the place called Lafbab city, commune of Moulay Larbi. The terrorists shot their victim before taking his weapon, watch and shoes.



                          • #15
                            6 people killed and 4 wounded in terrorist attack on summer camp in Tipaza


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