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ICC NOTE: Many see Algeria with an Islamic background but perhaps more secular than others. A call from al Qaeda linked militant group to eradicate the French from Algeria is a red flag that it may not be all that tolerant to secularists or to minority populations such as Christians.

Islamist group wants attacks on French in Algeria

Reuters

Jan 8

DUBAI (Reuters) – The leader of an al Qaeda-linked Algerian militant group called in a Web video posted on Monday for attacks against the French and their government allies in the North African country.

Abu Musab Abdul-Wadud, leader of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), said the group was awaiting instructions from Osama bin Laden after acquiring weapons and ammunition.

“To Algerians I say … the French and the allies of Crusaders who occupy our land (Islamic countries) are within your reach and so are the throats of those who sold the blood of martyrs,” he said in reference to a rebellion that ousted French troops from Algeria five decades ago.

“We are impatiently awaiting your (bin Laden) instructions and recommendations for the coming period,” Abdul-Wadud said. “Recently God bestowed on us weapons and ammunition.”

He did not say how the group acquired the weapons but said it had not received arms from abroad for a long time.

In December, the militant Islamist group claimed responsibility for bombing a bus carrying foreign oil workers near Algiers in which an Algerian was killed and nine people including four Britons and an American were wounded.

The GSPC claim in December came after the United States urged its citizens in Algeria to review their personal safety following the attack, the first on Westerners in many years.

In the video posted on a Web site used by militant groups including al Qaeda, Abdul-Wadud appeared wearing a field jacket and with an AK-47 assault rifle by his side against a dark green cloth.

He described Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as a “house thief” who is allowing foreign “infidel” companies to loot the country’s oil wealth.

“Oh Bouteflika, his agent generals and crusaders’ masters be aware we are coming for you with God’s will and power,” he said. “We love to die as much as they love drinking.”

Abdul-Wadud said efforts by Bouteflika to strike a deal with Islamists had faltered because he was not sincere.

An Algerian insurgency began in 1992 after the authorities canceled elections an Islamist party was expected to win and it has long been in decline following a series of amnesties.