Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC)
The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) splinter faction that began in 1996 has eclipsed the Groupe Islamique Armé (GIA or Armed Islamic Group). since approximately 1998, and currently is assessed to be the most effective remaining armed group inside Algeria. In contrast to the GIA, the GSPC has gained popular support through its pledge to avoid civilian attacks inside Algeria (although, in fact, civilians have been attacked). Its adherents abroad appear to have largely co-opted the external networks of the GIA, active particularly throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East .
Organization activities. The GSPC continues to conduct operations aimed at government and military targets, primarily in rural areas. Such operations include false roadblocks and attacks against convoys transporting military, police, or other government personnel. According to press reporting, some GSPC members in Europe maintain contacts with other North African extremists sympathetic to al-Qaeda, a number of whom were implicated in terrorist plots during 2001.
Estimated organization strength and areas of operation.
Although exact number are not known, intelligence analysts estimate that there are probably several hundred to several thousand GIA members operating inside Algeria .
GIA is supported by Algerian expatriates and GSPC members abroad, many residing in Western Europe, who provide financial and logistics support. In addition, the Algerian Government has previously accused Iran and Sudan of support of Algerian extremists.
█ FURTHER READING:
Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook, 2002. < http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ > (April 16, 2003).
Taylor, Francis X. U.S. Department of State. Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001, Annual Report: On the Record Briefing. May 21, 2002 < http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/rm/10367.htm > (April 17,2003).
U.S. Department of State. Annual reports. < http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/annual_reports.html > (April 16, 2003).