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 Terrorism

  INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST SYMBOLS DATABASE
  Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC)

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  Description: This oval-shaped symbol is centered around an open Koran. The writing on the Koran says, "The command rests with none but Allah." The Koran appears to stand on a gray brick wall; the sky is turquoise above the wall and the sun (with seven rays) peers over the Koran. A white path below the Koran bears script that reads, "Al Sunna" (the teachings of Muhammad).

A sword and an AK-47 rifle bracket the Koran. A billowing green flag attached to the rifle - framing the sun and the Koran - is inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith. A lower banner in mustard and orange reads, "The Salafist Group for Call and Combat." Two olive branches link to a yellow-green band around the top of the symbol that says, "And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah."

Explanation: The Koran signifies the group's devotion and symbolizes the belief that Islam is at the center of life. The framing of the Koran; the green flag above and white path below it; and also the yellow band at the top all reinforce the centrality of Muhammad's teachings. In addition, the sun represents the wisdom and righteousness that emanate from the Koran. The sword and the rifle, symbols of ancient and modern militancy, represent the organization's commitment to jihad. The olive branches symbolize victory, as do the dark yellow and orange banners.


| Name Variations | Overview | Focus of Operations | Major Attacks | Leaders | Ideology | Goals | Methods | Sponsors | U.S.- Related Activities |

Name Variations
Renamed itself to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in 2007
Salafist Group for Call and Combat
Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le Combat (GSPC)


Overview
The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC are the initials for the group's French name) was formed in 1998 as an outgrowth of the once-powerful and extremely violent Groupe Islamique Armée (GIA), whose popularity drastically declined following a series of massacres in which it killed thousands of Algerian civilians. Repudiating the organization's brutal tactics, a former leader, Hassan Hattab, created the GSPC. Hattab declared that the new group would refrain from attacking civilians. Largely due to this policy, the GSPC quickly rose to prominence in Algeria's rural areas, where most of its support is located. Although the GSPC has not wholly avoided non-combatants, it has eclipsed the GIA as the most deadly terrorist organization in Algeria.

The group repeatedly attacks the Algerian military and also kidnaps Western tourists in an effort to weaken and ultimately overthrow the Algerian government, which it seeks to replace with Islamic rule based on a “pure” interpretation of the Koran.

In September 2006, the GSPC joined forces with Al Qaeda, and Ayman al-Zawahri announced a “blessed union” between the groups in declaring France and enemy and fighting against French and American interests. In January 2007, the group announced that it had changed its name to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to reflect its alliance with Al Qaeda, from which it receives material and financial support.

Focus of Operations
Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger

Major Attacks
  • April 8, 2005: Ambushed five cars at a false roadblock. 14 dead, 1 injured.
  • February 12, 2004: Ambush of Algerian paramilitary officers. 7 killed, 3 injured.
  • November 23, 2002: Ambush of a group of Algerian soldiers. 9 dead, 12 wounded.
Leaders
  • Founder: Mokhtar Belmokhtar (in Algeria)
  • Former Leader: Hassan Hattab
  • Current Leader: Abu Musab Abdelouadoud
Ideology
Militant Islamic Fundamentalism

Goals
Establishing theocracy in Algeria, the Middle East, ultimately worldwide.

Methods
Bombings, kidnappings, paramilitary operations against civilian and military targets.

Sponsors
The Algerian government has accused Iran and Sudan of funding the GSPC.

U.S.-Related Activities
  • On August 28, 2002, five members of the group were indicted in the U.S. on charges of providing material support and resources to terrorists.
  • In September of 2001, Dutch authorities foild the group's plan to bomb U.S. embassy in Paris.
  • Following the September 11th terrorist attacks on the U.S., the GSPC issued a public statement supporting Osama bin Laden's "jihad" against America.
  • Designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

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