U.S. freezes assets of Algerian group

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The United States has ordered the freezing of assets of an Algerian insurgency group.

The State Department said the order would freeze the U.S. assets of Dhamat Houmet Daawa Salafia in accordance with an executive order on terrorism financing. Executive Order 13224 also bars Americans from most transactions with the organization.

Daawa Salafia was said to have "engaged in terrorist activity in Algeria and internationally and maintains ties to Al Qaida," the State Department said. The department said the United States also supports the inclusion of the group on the United Nations Sanctions Committee list, which would obligate all members to impose an arms embargo, ban travel, and freeze assets of the group.

Daawa, linked to Al Qaida, had been known as Katibat El Ahoual and led Mohammed Benslim, Middle East Newsline reported.

Officials said Daawa Salafia is a splinter group from the Armed Islamic Group, designated by the State Department as a terrorist organization.

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"Dhamat Houmet Daawa Salafia is well organized and equipped with military materiel, and has engaged in terrorist activity in Algeria and internationally," the State Department said. "It is responsible for numerous killings since the mid-1990s, and has escalated its attacks in recent years."

Until 2001, Daawa Salafia launched attacks against Algerian targets under the banner of the GIA. In 1998, another faction splintered from the GIA and formed the Salafist Brigade for Combat and Call.

State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said the latest designation was issued in consultation with Justice and Homeland Security departments.

"It's on the basis of the determination that the group committed or poses a significant risk of committing acts of terror that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States," Ereli said.

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