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New Algerian terror cell targets intellectuals

Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

CAIRO A leading Algerian insurgency group has established a cell for the assassination of intellectuals in the country.

The Salafist Brigade for Combat and Call is said to have formed a new group meant to eliminate secular opponents. Government sources said the focus was to be on scholars and figures in the media and arts.

The sources said the information was obtained by a member of the Salafist group. The member was said to have told Algerian interrogators that Salafist chief Hassan Khatab established a group last year called Al Saraya Al Hura.

The detainee, identified as Umar Bushnaq, said he was part of the Al Saraya group. He said the insurgency cell was responsible for all attacks on Algerian civilians and police officers from May until July of 2002.

Bushnaq was captured in the province of Boumerdas last year. He was one of scores of Salafist members captured in a government offensive in the forests around the capital Algiers.

The new Al Saraya organization is divided into cells that are responsible for different urban areas. Bushnaq said the aim of the Salafists is to create chaos in Algiers and other major cities in an effort to force the military to end its offensive against Islamic insurgents in the forests and mountains in the central and eastern sector.

The Algerian military offensive began in January 2002 and proceeded in stages throughout much of the countryside.

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