Algerian Terrorist Group Claims Largest Attack Ever Outside Home Country
Posted: June 20, 2005
In its largest attack ever outside of Algeria, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group has killed at least 15 soldiers and wounded 17 others in a raid on a military base in Mauritania in northwest Africa.
The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), an Algerian Islamic terrorist group, took responsibility for attacking a remote Mauritanian military outpost on June 4. Over 150 militants were reportedly involved in the incident.
A GSPC statement posted on the Internet claiming responsibility for the raid indicated that the attack was in response to U.S.-led military exercises in northern Africa, dubbed the Flintlock plan by military officials. The exercises, part of a broader U.S. counterterrorism campaign in Africa, includes Algerian, Malian, Mauritanian and Chadian troops. The statement also pointed to recent arrests and trials by Mauritanian authorities of dozens of Islamic extremists accused of having links to the GSPC.
The GSPC, Algeriaís deadliest terrorist group, has conducted scores of terrorist attacks throughout the country. The organization, however, rarely carries out attacks outside of Algeria, though its members have been known to fundraise and reside in neighboring countries, such as Mauritania.
As U.S. counterterrorism efforts increasingly focus on Africa, Al Qaeda-related groups such as the GSPC may seek to further expand their operations and destabilize the region.