But the jihad’s still on, of course. “Al Qaeda Maghreb says member behind Algeria attack,” from Reuters:
ALGIERS, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s north Africa wing said one of its fighters was behind a bomb attack on a former senior Islamist rebel in Algeria but said the assault was carried out without the approval of the group’s leadership.
Al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb said it had not planned to target Mustapha Kertali, a founder of the banned Salvation Islamic Front (FIS) and once a leading member of its armed wing, as he was not involved in attacking its fighters.
Kertali was seriously wounded on Aug. 14 when a bomb exploded under his car as he drove away from a mosque in the town of Larbaa, 30 km (18 miles) south of Algiers.
“One of our soldiers targeted Mustapha Kertali without consulting the leadership and getting its approval,” the group said in a statement posted on an Islamist Web site.
“The bombing … which we have not ordered and took place without our knowledge, is a mistake and we assume its repercussions before God and our Muslim nation.”
Kertali surrendered to authorities in 2000 under an amnesty. He supported another amnesty for rebels that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika issued last year as part of a wider national reconciliation plan to draw a line under the bloodshed.
“We do not see any reason for targeting this type of people who abandon jihad
under the pretext of a truce and reconciliation unless there is evidence of his involvement in the war and the killing of mujahideen,” the statement added.
Experts estimate several hundred guerrillas are still fighting in pockets of territory east of Algiers and in parts of the desert south.
Security experts say most belong to Maghreb al Qaeda, previously known as the
Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC).
Al Qaeda’s north Africa wing said in a statement posted on the Internet last month that it was planning a violent campaign against “infidels” and government forces in the Maghreb region. It urged Muslims to stay away from possible targets.