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Terrorist Organizations and Other Groups of Concern

Armed Islamic Group (GIA)

Updated August 24, 2007

From: "Chapter 8; Foreign Terrorist Organizations," Country Reports on Terrorism 2005, US Department of State, April 30, 2006.

a.k.a. Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah al-Musallah;
Groupement Islamique Arme

Description
An Islamic extremist group, the GIA aims to overthrow the Algerian regime and replace it with a fundamentalist Islamic state. The GIA began its violent activity in 1992 after the military government suspended legislative elections in anticipation of an overwhelming victory by the Islamic Salvation Front, the largest Islamic opposition party.

Activities
The GIA has engaged in attacks against civilians and government workers. Starting in 1992, the GIA conducted a terrorist campaign of civilian massacres, sometimes wiping out entire villages in its area of operation, and killing tens of thousands of Algerians. GIA's brutal attacks on civilians alienated the group from the Algerian populace. Since announcing its campaign against foreigners living in Algeria in 1992, the GIA has killed more than 100 expatriate men and women, mostly Europeans, in the country. Many of the GIA's members have joined other Islamist groups or have been killed or captured by the Algerian Government. The GIA's most recent significant attacks were in August 2001.

Strength
Precise numbers are unknown, but probably fewer than 100.

Location/Area of Operation
Algeria, the Sahel, and Europe.

External Aid
The GIA has members in Europe that provide funding, but mostly engages in criminal activity to raise funds.