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Leader of Algerian Salafi Movement Urged Al Zarqawi to Kidnap French Citizens in Iraq - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Algeria, Asharq Al-Awsat- French diplomats living in Algeria asserted that the French government is concerned about a possible alliance between the Algerian fundamentalist organization, ”Salafist Group for Call and Combat” and Al-Qaeda in Iraq led by Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. According to the sources, the alliance will target French citizens who live in Iraq and French interests in general all over the world. French diplomats expressed the concerns of their intelligence services to Asharq Al Awsat saying that the Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat wish to integrate with global Jihad.

According to the French sources, intelligence reports say that there has been communication between the Algerian group, the most active now in Algeria, and Al-Zarqawi who was the leader of the ”Tawhid and Jihad” group before he became committed to Bin Laden and became the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The French security agencies have information that communication between the two parties intensified since Abdel Malik Daroqedel (Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud) took over leadership of the Algerian Group in the autumn of 2004 succeeding Mustafa Abu Ibrahim (Nabeel Sahrawi) who was killed by the Algerian army in East Algeria. Confirming the ties between the two groups, French Security refers to a letter from Abu Musab of Algeria to Abu Musab of Iraq in which the former requests the latter to intimidate the French government by kidnapping a potentially large number of French hostages in Iraq.

The sources were unable, however, to determine precisely the date of correspondence, but added that the French authorities are taking the matter seriously and that the French diplomats in Algeria are intensely following up all that is written about the Algerian Salafi group. The letter from Algerian Abu Musab also seeks to justify his request to target French citizens by pointing out &#34France was deeply involved in supporting the Algerian regime.&#34 As an example of such support, the letter refers to the French role in releasing 32 European tourists (mostly Germans) in 2003 who were captured between February and July of that year, and kept in detention centers in the Algerian desert. The Algerian government has imprisoned ”Amary Sayffi (Abdel Razaq Al Bara) who carried out the kidnap operation.

According to the sources, which quoted French intelligence, Al Bara”s name was mentioned in the letter when Daroqedel asked Al Zarqawi to target the French in Iraq as punishment for France and as a form of exerting pressure on France to oblige the Algerian government to release prisoners from the Salafi group and in particular, ”Amary Sayffi.

French security reports point out that Al-Bara had formed a group of sixty armed fundamentalist Mauritanian fighters to strike at the regime of Maaouiya Ould Taya because of his repression of Islamic fundamentalists in the country. According to these reports, this happened during Sayffi”s trip to the Great Desert in search for arms. He was planning on purchasing the arms using the money he had gained as ransom from the German government in return for releasing the captive tourists. Sayffi was taken hostage however, whilst in the desert by a rebellious group from Chad accompanied by some Salafi fundamentalists from Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, and Niger. They then tried to hand him over to the Germans in exchange for money, but the operation failed. Eventually they handed him over to the Libyan government, which in turn, gave him to the Algerian regime on 27 October 2004.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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