Violence in Algeria
When the newly minted AQIM unleashed multiple bombings in Algeria on April 11, 2007, including one that targeted the prime minister’s office, the New York Times described AQIM as “North Africa’s most active terrorist group” and noted that the violence was “the deadliest attack in the capital” since the late 1990s.Craig S. Smith, “Blasts by Qaeda Unit Are Deadliest Attack in Algiers in Years,” New York Times, April 12, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/world/africa/12algeria.html. According to the Times, the GSPC—AQIM’s predecessor—“had been badly eroded in recent years… [but] has apparently undergone a revival… [since it] aligned itself with al-Qaeda. Its aim is to overthrow the government and install an Islamic theocracy there and throughout North Africa.”Craig S. Smith, “Blast by Qaeda Unit Are Deadliest Attack in Algiers in Years,” New York Times, April 12, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/world/africa/12algeria.html.
Reuters also compared the scale of violence by AQIM to that of Algeria’s civil war, reporting that the April 11 attack “raised fears the [North] African oil exporter was slipping back into the intense political violence of the 1990s.” One analyst quoted by the outlet likened the attack on the prime minister’s office to the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Mounir Boudjema, the editor of Algeria’s Liberte, said, “Since they joined al-Qaeda the rebels are clearly opting for symbolic and noisy targets such as the government palace, which is in a way our World Trade Center.”William Maclean and Lamine Chikhi, “Al Qaeda Claims Algiers Bombings,” Reuters, April 11, 2007, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2007/04/11/uk-algeria-blast-idUKL1170766420070411.
After AQIM bombed the U.N. headquarters in Algiers in December 2007, Time warned that the attack “increases the risk that AQIM is ramping up its violent struggle to bring down the Algerian government,” noting that it was the “fourth big hit” by the group since January. As with similar reports about al-Qaeda’s ability to regenerate, the magazine pointed out that despite the Algerian authorities having allegedly “decimated AQIM ranks” since April, the group continued to recruit effectively, remaining “the largest risk of non-homegrown terror to continental Europe.”Bruce Crumley, “Attack in Algiers: A Warning to Europe,” Time, December 11, 2007, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1693438,00.html.