This is the fourth major attack in Algeria since the group’s merger with al Qaeda. The first was launched against a bus carrying foreign employees of a Halliburton subsidiary in December 2006. Two employees died when an IED was detonated near the bus. xxvii
The second attack occurred in March 2007 against a bus carrying workers for a Russian oil pipeline company.xxviii Three Algerians and a Russian worker were killed. Al-Qaeda in the Land of Islamic Maghreb dedicated this attack to the Mujahideen in Chechnya and the Chechen people.
The third was a string of five attacks in Algeria’s eastern Kabylie region and caused a total of six deaths. xxix
The attacks were:
An ambush laid out for Algerian military forces in Al-Akhdariya.
Two bombs set off next to an Algerian army convoy in Dalas.
Two land mines set off next to soldiers from the Al-Akhdariya army base.
A bomb set off next to a City Guard commander in Shu'bat Al-'Amir.
A bomb set off next to Budkhan City Guard forces.xxx
The roots of al-Qaeda in the Land of Islamic Maghreb can be traced back to the 1990s. In 1992, the GIA (French acronym for Algerian Islamic Group) was formed when the Algerian government decided to overrule an election which the Islamist group FIS (Front Islamique du Salut) were poised to win. After years of violent civil war, the GSPC (French acronym for the Salafist Group for Preaching and Jihad) was established as a breakaway group from the GIA.
The reason for split was the extreme violence committed by the GIA against civilians, government officials and other opposition groups. Instead the GSPC mostly targeted Algerian security forces in rural areas, causing little collateral damage.
The GSPC started off with a mission trying to overthrow the Algerian government. Over the years, their ideology shifted from a localised agenda to al Qaeda’s regional-global Jihad. This was apparent when they merged with Tanzim Qaedat al Jihad in September 2006, and renamed “Tanzim al Qaeda bi Bilad al Maghrib al Islami” in January 2007.
This is the first attack in Algeria in which suicide bombers were used. The influence of al Qaeda Organization is proven by the apparent change in the tactics of groups which adopt its ideology and techniques.
However, by advocating violence to pursue its course, the group’s strategy may backfire. Although the bombings were targeted against government and Western targets, the massive civilian fatalities and casualties are unavoidable. Terrorism against civilians may