Algeria: October 12, 2003


  One of the two Islamic radical organizations still fighting the government has replaced it's leader. The GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat) deposed (and possibly killed), Hassan Hattab partly because of the recent incident where 32 European tourists were kidnapped and held for ransom in southern Algeria. Hattab did nothing to stop this, even though the kidnappers belonged to the GSPC. The kidnapping made it a lot more difficult for the GSPC to operate in Europe (which is used as a base area for recruiting and fund raising). The new GSPC leader, Nabil Sahraoui (alias Abou Ibrahim Mustapha) has much closer ties to al Qaeda. The government estimates that GSPC only has about 400 armed members left.


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