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End of the Algerian civil war and initial militant activities
With the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria's decline, the GSPC was left as the most active rebel group, with about 300 fighters in 2003. It continued an assassination campaign of police and army personnel in its area, and also managed to expand into the Sahara, where its southern division, led by Amari Saifi (nicknamed "Abderrezak el-Para", the "paratrooper"), kidnapped a number of German tourists in 2003, before being forced to flee to sparsely populated areas of Mali, and later Niger and Chad, where he was captured.
Some believe that El Para actually works for the Algerian government. By late 2003, the group's founder had been supplanted by the even more radical Nabil Sahraoui, who announced his open support for al-Qaeda, thus strengthening government ties between the U.S. and Algeria. He was reportedly killed shortly afterwards, and was succeeded by Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud in 2004.
Yet certain observers have consistently argued that the claims about terrorist threats in the Sahara and an alliance between these groups and Al-Qaida are exaggerated, that certain key events were fabricated, and that much of the hype is the result of a campaign of deception and disinformation led by the Algerian government, and perpetuated by the media.
On April 11, 2002, Ghriba synagogue bombing killed 22 (14 German tourists, five Tunisians, and two French nationals and the suicide bomber).
On May 5, 2002, 15 government soldiers are killed in an ambush near Tizi Ouzou, in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria. About 50 members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) were blamed for the assault.
On June 23, 2002, militants killed 6 civilians in an attack on youths playing football near a bus station in Zeralda, near Algier.
On July 17, 2002, militants killed 7 civilians in Ouled Allal, Bouira Province. Bringing the death toll of the previous three days to 22.
On September 13, 2002, militants killed 11 civilians on a road in northern Algeria, Ain Defla Province. The previous month, according to a toll compiled from press reports and official accounts, an estimated 140 people were killed in extremist violence, bringing to 1,070 the number of people who had been killed since the beginning of the year.
On September 19, 2002, 15 people are reported to have been arrested in Kabylie under suspicion of providing money and logistical help to the GSPC
On October 2, 2002, militants killed 13 civilians in a remote village in western Algeria, in Ain Defla Province.
On January 6, 2003, militants ambushed a military convoy in north-east Algeria killing 43 soldiers and wounding 19 others. Also militants attacked families near the capital, Algiers, killing 13 people.
Between 22 February and 24 March 2003, the Free Salafist Group or GSL, a splinter group of the GSPC led by Amari Saïfi (Abderrazak “El Para”), allegedly captures 32 European tourists in southern Algeria. On 13 May 2003, seventeen hostages are released and 2 militants are killed in a gun battle in the Algerian desert. The remaining fighters, with fifteen hostages, flee to northern Mali. After receiving a purported €5 million ransom paid by the German government, the GSL/GSPC releases the fourteen remaining hostages on 19 August 2003. The fifteenth hostage, a German, died of heat exhaustion.
In September 2003, Nabil Sahraoui was reported to have replaced Hassan Hattab as leader of the GSPC but other media reports have denied that any change has taken place.
On November 27, 2003, in Messad, Djelfa Province, Algeria, a well-known poet and member of the extended Royal Saudi family was killed and four others were injured in an apparent terrorist attack, according to press reports.
On May 2, 2004, it was reported that in the previous two days 7 members of the security forces, 6 civilians and 2 militants were killed in several locations: near Algier, and in the provinces of Medea, Bouira and Relizane.
On May 18, 2004, two bombs exploded killing two soldiers and wounding 13 people, including four soldiers, in Setif in eastern Algeria.
On June 2, 2004, fighters ambushed an Algerian military convoy in Béjaïa in eastern Algeria, killing 10 soldiers and wounding 45 others.
On June 28, 2004, the army killed three Islamic extremists in a raid near the capital, Algiers.
On September 20, 2004, militants killed 4 people at a roadblock they set up near Kalous in Bouira Province.
On September 29, 2004, militants attacked a civil defense post near the city of Ain Defla, killing 6 members of the civil defense force.
On October 22, 2004, militants attacked a vehicle near Medea carrying fans to a football match in the capital Algiers killing 16 people.
On April 9, 2005, militants killed 14 people at a fake roadblock near Algier. In addition another 36 people, including 15 security force members have been killed since the start of March.
On May 15, 2005, fighters ambushed an army convoy in the region of Khenchela killing 12 soldiers.
On June 13, 2005, an explosive device kills 3 soldiers and 2 civilians west of Tipaza.
On June 18, 2005, an explosive device killed a policeman during a police raid in El-Djer.
On June 23, 2005, an explosive device kills 1 policeman on the road linking Azzefoune and Aghrib in the province of Tizi Ouzou.
On July 18, 2005, Islamist militants killed five policemen in an ambush in Ain Defla in western Algeria.
On September 25, 2005 militants killed 5 members of the security forces. Three days before 7 soldiers and 3 civilians were killed in two other attacks. Since the beginning of the month another 16 soldiers, 12 civilians and 1 policeman were killed. The attacks took place in Boumerdes Province and close to Saida.
On February 1, 2006, the Algerian daily Liberté reports that spiritual leader Ahmed Abou al-Baraa (real name Ahmed Zarabib) has been killed by Algerian government forces in the mountains near Toudja on January 17.
On March 30, 2006, Hassan Hattab, a founder of the group, is reported to have called on its remaining members to accept an amnesty offered by the Algerian government.
On April 7, 2006, fighters ambushed a government convoy in the desert region of Ghardaïa in Algeria carrying customs agents killing 13 people.
On April 26, 2006, a suicide bomber attacked the base of the Multinational Forces and Observers at al-Jura wounding two members of the force.
On June 21, 2006, the Algerian army killed 10 Islamists in Ghzerwal, near Boumerdes.
On June 26, 2006, the Algerian army killed 19 Islamists in the eastern region of Khenchela, bring the number of people killed since the start of the latest unrest in Algeria to 53, including 36 suspected Islamists. Among the dead were also 7 soldiers killed on June 21 and 5 civilians killed on June 20.
On July 20, 2006, fighters killed 4 government municipal guards near Ain Defla. The attack followed a similar one on July 12 when 5 guards were killed near Tipaza.
On August 29, 2006, fighters attacked a checkpoint in El-Kseur in Béjaïa Province, killing 2 policemen and 1 civilian.
On September 14, 2006, al-Qaeda announced it will join the GSPC in their fight against France. They plan to attack France, the United States, and their allies.
On September 2, 2006 in separate clashes 6 soldiers were killed in the regions of Béjaïa and Medea.
In October, 2006 a series of truck bombs exploded in Algiers killing three and wounding 24.
On November 3, 2006 15 militants ambushed an army patrol in the Ain Defla region killing 8 soldiers.
On November 9, 2006 militants ambushed an army patrol in the Bouira region killing 7 soldiers and wounding 13.
On November 28, 2006 10 militants were killed in clashes in remote mountainous regions and also a week before a military helicopter was shot down by the Islamists killing 3 soldiers and 2 local guards.
On December 10, 2006 a bomb tore apart a bus carrying foreign oil workers in Algiers, killing two and wounding eight.
May 14: 20 militants were killed in clashes near the capital.
July 11: a suicide truck bomber attacked a military barracks near Bouira, killing 10 soldiers and wounding 35.
September 3: during clashes in the Tebessa region five security forces members and a civilian were killed.
September 5: seven militants were killed when the army bombed a suspected militant hideout in the Tebessa region.
A US C-130 plane was attacked by a machine gun emplacement on September 12. The plane reached its destination in Mali and nobody was injured. Since the beginning of OEF-TS, 100 AQIM members have been killed by security forces with 261 noncombat fatalities.
September 15: a bomb exploded in front of a police compound in Zemmouri, near Boumerdes, killing three people and wounding five others.
September 22: a suicide bomber wounded nine people, including two Frenchmen and an Italian, in an attack in Lakhdaria, in the Bouira Province.
October 9: in clashes in Kabylie three militants, including the GSPC deputy leader, were killed.
October 15: in fighting in the Tizi Ouzou province three militants were killed.
November 16: Algerian forces killed the treasurer of al-Qaeda in Algeria, Abdelhamid Sadaoui, also known as Abou el Haythem, near Tizi Ouzou.
Al Qaeda's wing in north Africa claimed to have killed 20 Algerian soldiers and wounded 30 in clashes in its eastern stronghold, where the army has launched a campaign against the rebels. In an Internet statement posted on March 8, the group denied a newspaper report that 25 of its fighters had been killed and played down reports its leader had been surrounded.
June 6: a roadside bomb killed six soldiers and wounded four in Cap Djenat. The bombing came a day after a suicide bomber targeted a military barracks in an eastern Algiers suburb but killed only himself.
June 8: two bombs in quick succession rocked a train station in Beni Amrane, about 60 miles east of Algiers. The first bomb killed a Frenchman working on a renovation project at the station along with his driver. The second bomb came about five minutes later hitting the first responders and killing eight soldiers and three firefighters.
June 11: A Moroccan court convicted a cell of 29 recruiters and sentenced them to prison.
Moroccan forces arrested 35 Al Qaeda recruiters on July 2, 2008.
July 14: a leader of Al-Qaida in Algeria was killed in a security forces raid.
January 19: The bubonic plague infected and killed at least 40 members of AQIM in a training camp.
January 22: Gunmen abducted a Swiss couple, a German woman, and a British man in Niger. In February, Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb claimed to have abducted the four tourists as well as Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler in December. Fowler and three others were released in April while the British man, Edwin Dyer, was executed in June.
February 22: Militants attack a gas installation at the Ziama Mansouriah commune in the coastal province of Jijel, killing nine security guards in the deadliest strike since August.
June 17: 18 gendarmerie troops and a civilian were killed in an attack on a military convoy near Bordj Bou Arreridj, about 125 miles southeast of Algiers.Local sources said that the soldiers were returning after escorting to base a group of Chinese workers building the future motorway intended to cross the whole of the north African country from east to west.
July 30: At least 14 Algerian security guards were killed in an ambush by alleged Islamic fighters.
October 8: 2 brothers suspected of links to AQIM were arrested in France. One of the two was a CERN researcher.
Nov. 26: Frenchman Pierre Camatte was kidnapped in Ménaka, Mali by al-Qaeda.
Nov. 29: Spanish aid workers Roque Pascual, Albert Vilalta, and Alicia Gamez were kidnapped on a coastal road in Mauritania. Gamez was released in March 2010, while Pascual and Vilalta was released in August 2010.
Dec. 19: An Italian and his wife from Burkina Faso were kidnapped in eastern Mauritania. They were released on April 19, 2010.
Dec. 28: Three Saudi tourists were killed and three others injured in an attack near Djambala, Niger. A fourth Saudi died two days later.
January 29: A bomb exploded at the passage of a freight train loan Timezrit. Nobody was injured.
March 8: At least five soldiers were killed close to Niger's border with Mali, in a sunrise ambush in which rebels attacked a convoy with rockets and machine gun fire at an isolated border post.
March 21: 3 militants were killed by security forces near El Ma Labiod, 35 km from Tebessa.
March 25: Two soldiers were killed and five others wounded in an attack in the city of Kadiria.
March 26: 3 militants were killed while another was captured by security forces in Ait Yahia Moussa, 30 km from Tizi Ouzou.
April 1: A bomb attack against a taxi killed two people in Tizi-Ouzou. Another attack against a police patrol does not hurt.
April 3: Seven security officers and one soldier were killed in a double bomb attack in the region of Bejaia. Two other soldiers were wounded in the second explosion.
April 14: According to Algerian officials, at least 10 militants were killed since a counter-terrorist operation started in Bordj Bou Arreridj raion. The operation is ongoing. Top militant Abdelmalek Droukdel could be surrounded with other militants, a military spokesman said.
April 23: At least 2 policemen were killed and another was slightly wounded when a bomb exploded in Irraguern (between Bejaia and Jijel) while they were passing by. No other details have been reported.
April, 28: A fierce gunbattle between Algerian army and a group of militants occurred near Tidjellabine (2 km from Boumerdes). It is known that one soldier was killed, but the counter-terrorist operation was still going on according to Algerian officials.
May 2: One militant was killed in a clash with Algerian forces in a forest between Akfadou and Adekar. "He was wearing an old military jacket (...) he was killed on the spot" a military spokesman said. "The counter-terrorist operation is still going on" he added. This heavily forested area is often the scene of clashes between militants from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM, former GSPC) and Algerian army.
May 4: 3 militants, including the emir of "Takhoukht Jamaat" Zakaria Abdelkahar, were killed by security forces in Draa El Mizen (45 km from Tizi-Ouzou). It was reported that the authorities demanded them to stop their car and to surrender, but they refused and were killed. Several weapons and ammunitions were discovered in the car. No other details have been reported.
May 9: 2 people including a child were killed in an ambush in Kabylie. Another person is missing.
June 7: 2 people were killed and a third critically injured in a bomb attack near Derguina.
June 11: A suicide car bomb directed by a suicide bomber against a fixed barrier of the gendarmerie in Ammal resulted in 8 dead, including 3 policemen, four civilians and a Chinese national. Thus a score of wounded including 10 policemen and 10 civilians. At least three terrorists were killed during the violent clash that occurred after the blast.
June 24: 5 people were killed and one wounded by gunfire during a wedding at douar Ghrab near Tébessa.
July 1er: 11 policemen were killed in an ambush in the city of Tinzaouatine. This attack was claimed by AQIM.
July 4: 3 policemen killed by a bomb on a road near Jijel by suspected Islamists.
July 14: 4 soldiers were killed and 13 others wounded in several bomb attacks.
July 25: Six militants were killed in a Franco-Mauritanian raid against a camp of Al-qaeda in Mali to try to free the hostage Michel Germaneau. At the same time one person was killed and 10 wounded in a suicide attack against a police brigade in Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria.
July 26: A few days after AQIM claimed he was executed in reprisal against the French-Mauritanian raid, the French president confirms the death of 78-year-old French volunteer aid worker Michel Germaneau, who had been kidnapped on April 21. It cannot be ruled out that he died as a result of running out of heart drugs.
August 7: The mayor of the town of Baghlia, Mohammed Idir, was murdered when he went to the mosque.
August 20: An attack against a military convoy near Baghlia killed 3 people and injured at least two.
August 22: a former terrorist was assassinated by bullets in the town of Baghlia in Algeria.
August 24: An attempted suicide attack wounded 3 in Mauritania. The bomber's vehicle exploded before reaching its target, a military barracks in Néma.
August 30: A suicide car bomb against a military convoy left 3 dead and at least 20 wounded in the town of Zemmouri in Kabylie.
September 16: Gunmen abduct five Frenchmen, a Togolese, and a Malagasy from a uranium mine in northern Niger.
September 18: A battle between Mauritanian army and members of Al-Qaeda killed at least 6 members of the army and 12 militants.
October 3: Five soldiers were killed and ten others injured in a bomb attack against their convoy in Zekri, a town of Kabylie, during a search operation.
October 12: A departmental head in public works, his two collaborators and two contractors were killed in a bomb attack in Tlidjene.
October 25: 1 soldier was killed and four others wounded by a bomb explosion in the passage their patrol in the Boumerdes region.
January 4: An attack against the embassy of France in Mali's capital Bamako resulting in 2 injuries. This is the first such attack on Malian territory.
January 7: Two French citizens were kidnapped in Niamey, Niger and died in Mali while French troops were attempting to rescue them.AQIM declared on 15 January that it had executed one of them while the other one was killed by the French military. A post-mortem examination established that one of them received a direct shot, while the other one was killed by the "thermal effects of fire".
January 29: A member of the municipal guard was killed and three others wounded in an attack against the headquarters of the communal guard in the southwest of Tizi Ouzou.
February 3: The Mauritanian army has detonated a vehicle filled with explosives 12 km south of Nouakchott killing its three passengers and wounding eight soldiers. The attack was to assassinate the President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. That attack was claimed by AQIM.
March 9: An attack near Djelfa left 5 dead, in what appeared to be a response to the death of Abou Tourab, a leader of AQIM.
April 17: 20 Algerian soldiers were killed and twenty-two injured in three attacks claimed by Al Qaeda. Eleven militants were also killed.
April 29: The explosion of a bomb in the town of Oued Djemaa has killed five communal guards who went to their place of work.
May 6: A bomb that exploded at the passage of a military convoy killed five soldiers and wounded five other in a region of Jijel. Since April 15 and the address to the nation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika there were fifty deaths in Islamist attacks.
May 4: Four policemen were killed in a bomb attack on the road between Tizi-Ouzou, the main town of Kabylie, in Algiers the capital of the country.
May 6: Three soldiers were killed and two others wounded by gunmen in the region of Jijel. One was initially killed by firing a gun, the others were killed by a bomb attack.
May 12: Seven soldiers were killed and three terrorists killed in an attack against a military outpost in the region of Jijel, Algeria. An eighth member is missing and two were wounded in the attack with machine guns, perpetrated in Tizrarane.
July 5: Al-Qaida claims to have attacked a Mauritanian army base in Mali claiming to have killed 20 soldiers and destroyed 12 vehicles. they also say he lost two of their men. The Mauritanian army for its part says it killed 15 militants and lost two men.
July 16: Four people were killed and twenty injured in attacks, including two attacks by suicide bombers in the east of Algiers. In addition near the Tunisian border, two gunmen were killed.
August 14: A suicide bombing against a police station injured more than 30 in the city of Tizi Ouzou, Similarly, two people were killed in a double bomb attack targeting a police station in Bordj Menaiel.
August 17: A soldier was killed and five injured in a bomb attack in the town of Thenia.
August 22: A soldier was killed and two others wounded in the explosion of a roadside bomb in Taourga. In addition, two officers from the Hasnaoui were murdered and a young civilian was hit by bullets.
August 24: One militant was wounded and policemen recovered two Kalashnikovs in a clash near Tizi-Ouzou.
August 27: A suicide attack against the Military Academy Cherchell, a hundred kilometers west of Algiers, killed 18 people, 16 officers and two civilians and wounded 20 others. The attack occurred less than ten minutes after breaking the fast of Ramadan.
September 27: 5 men suspected of funding AQIM were arrested by Spanish police. Since 2004, over 400 suspected AQIM members have been arrested by Spain.
October 23: Two Spaniards and an Italian were abducted near Tindouf in western Algeria. The Spaniards were identified as Ainhoa Fernandez de Rincon, a pro-Sahrawi activist, and Enric Gonyalons, a member of the Basque non-profit group Mundubat. The Italian was named as Rossella Urru from Rome-based Comitato Italiano Sviluppo dei Popoli. The three were freed on 18 July 2012.
November 23: Gunmen kidnapped two French workers in Hombori, Mali.
November 25: Gunmen killed a German tourist and kidnapped a Swede, a Dutchman and a British/South African in Timbuktu, Mali.
April 19: AQIM militants killed eleven soldiers in the Tizi Ouzou region of Algeria, east of Algiers. It was one of the deadliest attacks on the Algerian military in several years.
December 11: French troops in Mali killed top Islamist commander Ahmed al Tilemsi. Tilemsi was a founding member of Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) and held a $5 million bounty.
^see especially the numerous writings by Jeremy Keenan, such as http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3544 or "Waging War on Terror: the Implications of America's 'New Imperialism' for Saharan Peoples, Journal of North African Studies vol. 10, no. 3 (September–December 2005), p619-648