Thursday, April 12, 2007

The long arm of al-Qaeda - The Economist

The bombs that shook Algiers and ripped the façade off the prime minister's office this week, killing some 30 people, suggest a worrying resurgence of the country's Islamist militants since they rebranded themselves as al-Qaeda's official arm in the Maghreb. This week's counter-attack on bombers in Morocco raises similar questions. But they were probably different sorts of terrorists. There is no presumption yet that al-Qaeda has effectively activated a joint north African front, though it would surely like to do so.

It is the first time in years that Algeria's capital has been attacked on such a scale. Earlier this year there were terrorist shootings in Tunisia. In Morocco this week four suicide bombers died in Casablanca as they were cornered by security forces, while several other terrorist plots in Europe have been linked to north African militants. America worries that the vast ungoverned spaces of the Sahara desert could provide sanctuary for jihadists.

Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

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