<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> WorldTribune.com: Mobile Al Qaida kills clerics in Algeria who criticized insurgency

Al Qaida kills clerics in Algeria who criticized insurgency

Friday, March 21, 2008 Free Headline Alerts

CAIRO Al Qaida militants are hunting down clerics in Algeria who cooperate with the government's counter-insurgency campaign. Algerian sources said the new Al Qaida Organization of the Islamic Maghreb has targeted Muslim clerics critical of the Islamic insurgency network. The sources said Al Qaida operatives have raided mosques and killed their preachers.

On March 16, two Muslim clerics were executed by Al Qaida in a raid during evening prayer. The sources said four Al Qaida gunmen burst into the crowded mosque in Megueren, forced 300 congregants to lie with their faces to the ground. Megueren is a village in the Oued province in southern Algeria.

The sources said Al Qaida has been targeting Muslim clerics believed to have been cooperating with the government's counter-insurgency campaign. Algerian state-financed clerics have been directed to watch their congregants for Al Qaida recruiters.

Al Qaida has been targeting clerics and other civilians amid the Algerian military offensive about 50 kilometers east of Algiers. According to Algerian media reports, 23 Al Qaida fighters were killed over the last few days. In southern Algeria, military and security units captured a huge amount rockets, rifles and ammunition believed meant for Al Qaida.

Following the execution in Megueren, the gunmen searched for their victims. Two Muslim preachers, identified as Mohammed and Abdul Jabar Haroun, ages 35 and 32, respectively, were bound with wire and shot in the head. Ahmed was also employed as a fireman.

The two Haroun cousins were regarded as so-called moderate Salafists. Salafists believe in a literal interpretation of Islam, including holy war against non-Muslims.

   WorldTribune Home