Armed Islamic Group

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The Armed Islamic Group, or Groupes Islamiques Armes (GIA), is an Algerian jihadist group formed in 1991. Also known as Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah al-Musallah, it was founded by Mansouri Miliani, when the secular (although majority Muslim) Algerian government cancelled the victory, in the December 1991 legislative elections, of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) "the largest Islamic opposition party". FIS was outlawed and many leaders arrested. While underground, it split into moderate and extremist factions; GIA was one of the latter. [1] Miliani was arrested for his role in the attack on Algiers airport in August 1992, and executed in May 1993.[2]

It appears largely inactive, although still is designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. At present, it is most significant as an example of the way jihadists group evolve. Its members may have joined al-Qaeda proper, or the "brand name" affiliate al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The more radical of them may have trained in Afghanistan.[3]

Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif said that al-Qaeda supported the acts, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, provided religious justification it.Others have said Osama bin Laden supported AIG's Algerian rival, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which had broader support.[3]

References

  1. Terrorist Organization Profile: Armed Islamic Group, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism
  2. "Armed Islamic Group", Globalsecurity
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lauren Vriens (June 27, 2008), "Armed Islamic Group (Algeria, Islamists)(a.k.a. GIA, Groupe Islamique Armé, or al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah al-Musallaha)", Council on Foreign Relations backgrounder