GIAGroup Islamique armé
The most active militant group in Algeria, responsible for several of the actions performed in second half of 1996.
GIA first appeared on the scene in spring 1993. According to what has been reported to be their own program, their aim is to exterminate all Jews, Christians, and infidels from the land of Algeria. They claim to be fighting a holy war, and will not end this until the ruling government of Algeria is ousted.
Much is uncertain about GIA, since the organisation is so young, and during the time it has existed, information from Algeria has been impregnated by the unstable political situation in the country. One believes that GIA is lead by Djamel Zitouni, alias Abou Aberrahmane Amine. He has been reported dead several times, but no confirmed messages has come through.
GIA was responsible for the killing of five French embassy employees in August 1994. GIA is believed to be responsible for the hijacking of the Air France airplane in Algiers in december 1994. Most of the killings of foreigners have been performed by GIA, now exceeding 100 persons. Fatal was the killing of 7 trappist monks in April 1996, which was deemed negatively by even many supporters of GIA.
But in real numbers, Algerians are the people that have suffered most from GIA's actions, and in an action against the school system, close to 1,000 schools have been burnt down, and more than 200 teachers have been murdered. From August 1996, actions have become more bizarre than before, and in an action as late as December 10, 1996, 20 was killed and 6 injured when a bus was attacked in Blida, 50 km south of Algiers. 8 had their throats cut over, and heads of several victims were put on sticks to be exposed to the population, in order to scare.
Attacks on police, and even ministers, have been performed, but GIA was not responsible for the killing of president Boudiaf in June, 29 1992.
Members of GIA are normal Algerians, but central are the thousands of "Afghans", men who have received their military training from Afghanistan. Members are young men from the poor quarters in the cities in northern Algeria.
GIA is not co-operating with FIS, there is a strong conflict between GIA and the militant part of FIS, the AIS. All reports coming out must be evaluated carefully, since almost none of our sources are supporting the GIA. There is apparently a connection between a connection between this group and the Saudi newspaper Al Hayat, published from London, Paris and Beirut.