In September 2006, Ayman al-Zawahri announced the merger of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) with al-Qaeda, raising fears the group would begin terror operations beyond Algeria’s borders.
The Guardian’s Ian Black noted in contrast that the group would likely remain a localized threat, citing George Joffe of Cambridge University, who matter-of-factly claimed that the group “is Algeria-based.” In contrast, the Christian Science Monitor’s Middle East expert, Aron Lund, warned the same year that “this alliance underlines the regional, rather than Algerian, focus of [the] GSPC.” Lund pointed to a 2006 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate that “several North African groups, unless countered, are likely to expand their reach and become more capable of multiple and/or mass-casualty attacks outside their traditional areas of operation.” Moreover, Lund highlighted reports that GSPC units were spreading throughout the Sahara—popping up in Mauritania, Mali, and Niger—not to mention in Italy, where police disrupted a GSPC cell that was financing operations in Algeria.
Meanwhile, the BBC’s coverage several days after the report was published focused on the strong anti-France messaging from both al-Zawahri and the GSPC, noting that “GSPC singled out France as its ‘enemy number one’ [in 2005] and issued a call for action against the country.” Consequently, France’s interior ministry conceded a “high level threat” against France and France’s domestic security agency concurred that the threat of an attack was “very high and very international.”
On March 25, 2017, as Bangladesh Armed Forces raided a militant hideout in South Surma Upazila, Bangladesh, militants detonated two bombs in a crowd of 500-600 onlookers. The attack, claimed by ISIS, killed four civilians and three police officers, and injured 50 others.