An Islamic extremist group, the GIA aims to overthrow
the secular Algerian regime and replace it with
an Islamic state. The GIA began its violent activities
in early 1992 after Algiers voided the victory
of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)--the largest
Islamic party--in the first round of legislative
elections in December 1991.
Frequent attacks against civilians, journalists,
and foreign residents. In the last several years
the GIA has conducted a terrorist campaign of
civilian massacres, sometimes wiping out entire
villages in its area of operations and frequently
killing hundreds of civilians. Since announcing
its terrorist campaign against foreigners living
in Algeria in September 1993, the GIA has killed
more than 100 expatriate men and women--mostly
Europeans--in the country. Uses assassinations
and bombings, including car bombs, and it is known
to favor kidnapping victims and slitting their
throats. The GIA hijacked an Air France flight
to Algiers in December 1994. In late 1999 several
GIA members were convicted by a French court for
conducting a series of bombings in France in 1995.
The Salafi Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) splinter
faction appears to have eclipsed the GIA since
approximately 1998 and is currently assessed to
be the most effective remaining armed group inside
Algeria. Both the GIA and GSPC leadership continue
to proclaim their rejection of President Bouteflika's
amnesty, but in contrast to the GIA, the GSPC
has stated that it limits attacks on civilians.
The GSPC's planned attack against the Paris-Dakar
Road Rally in January 2000 demonstrates, however,
that the group has not entirely renounced attacks
against high-profile civilian targets.
Unknown, probably several hundred to several thousand.
Location/Area of Operation
Algerian expatriates and GSPC members abroad,
many of whom reside in Western Europe, provide
financial and logistic support. In addition, the
Algerian Government has accused Iran and Sudan
of supporting Algerian extremists.