September 7, 2004


Algerian bomber tries to save Qaeda-allied group (Paul de Bendern, September 7, 2004, Reuters)

A university student skilled in bomb-making has taken charge of Algeria's largest Islamic rebel movement but the Al-Qaeda-linked group is fighting for its survival as the army pounds its hideouts and members surrender.

The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which seeks a purist Islamic state in the Maghreb, made headlines last year with the kidnapping of dozens of European tourists and reportedly secured 5 million euros ($6 million) in ransom money.

After more than a decade of holy war or "jihad" resulting in the deaths of more than 150,000 people, according to human rights groups, the GSPC is the last powerful rebel force, operating with a few hundred armed members, in Muslim Algeria.

The GSPC said in an undated statement obtained by Reuters on Monday that Abdelmalek Droukdel, previously thought to have been killed in combat, had been made chief three month after the death of Nabil Sahraoui.

All the group's top leaders apart from Droukdel, 33, have either been killed in battle or arrested in recent months.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 7, 2004 1:51 PM

How disgusting that, after decades of murder and barbarism, these human cockroaches will surrender and expect not to be killed by the state. What shred of mercy did they ever display towards their victims? Kill them all.

Posted by: Amos at September 8, 2004 12:34 AM

While I agree emotionally, tactically it would be a huge mistake not to give them an out.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 8, 2004 10:27 AM