Friday, August 27, 2004

GSPC Ambush Kills Seven

The Al Qaeda-linked Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC, see Blogger's new search feature at the top of this page to search Southern Watch for more related posts) ambushed a security forces patrol last Monday, killing five soldiers and two police men, and injuring thirteen. Some thirty terrorists opened fire on their convoy with mortars and automatic weapons.

According to sources close to the security forces, the attack was carried out by the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), the largest Muslim radical group still active in Algeria and said to be linked to the Al-Qaeda network.

The GSPC set fire to a games centre for local youths to lure the security patrol into the ambush, the sources told the press.

A teenage boy was seriously wounded when he was caught in crossfire as the patrol responded after the ambush.

The attack occurred near Boumerdes, 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Algiers, where the wooded and hilly terrain provides an ideal hiding place for radical groups.

Security sources told the press that the attackers are believed to be from the same radical cell that carried out a series of attacks on the busy main road that links Algiers with the east of the country.

In those attacks, which occurred two weeks ago, some 20 Islamic radicals disguised as members of the security forces set up false roadblocks on National Route Five just outside Algiers. Two people were killed in the attacks, including one soldier.

Monday's ambush was the deadliest to target the security forces since June, when 14 soldiers were killed in an ambush in the Bejaia region, 260 kilometers east of Algiers.

Nearly 40 people have been killed in July and August and 340 since the start of the year in incidents involving armed Islamists, according to officials and the Algerian media.
Thanks to Winds Of Change's excellent Winds of War roundup.