The State Department said it has determined a plot by Al Qaida
Organization in the Islamic Maghreb to attack aircraft chartered by energy
companies in Algeria, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said AQIM was believed ready to use its new
stockpile of Russian-origin surface-to-air missiles to down aircraft.
"The U.S. embassy in Algiers received threat information and both the
embassy and the Overseas Security Advisory Council acted quickly to alert
potential targets to the threat," State Department deputy spokesman Mark
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Western and Russian companies have been working in Algeria's huge energy
sector. Over the last four years, AQIM has targeted French and Chinese
energy and other personnel in the North African state.
Officials said Washington was working with Algeria and other North
African states to combat the latest AQIM threat. They said U.S. Africa
Command has helped train forces from such states as Mali, Mauritania,
Morocco and Niger to block SAM shipments to Al Qaida.
"Information is routinely shared between the U.S. and our partners in
order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against
potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential
threats," Toner said on Sept. 16. "The government of Algeria has long been
one of our strongest partners in this fight."