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 Treasury Targets Al Qaida-Affiliated Terror Group in Algeria


7/17/2008

HP-1085

Washington, DC--The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated four leaders of al Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a terrorist organization that has carried out numerous attacks in Algeria. On July 3, 2008, these four individuals were added to the United Nations Consolidated List of individuals and entities associated with Usama Bin Laden, al Qaida, and the Taliban.

"Algeria has shown remarkable courage in the face of horrifying terrorist attacks against its people," said Adam J. Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). "The four terrorists that we have targeted today are among the most culpable for this violence, as leaders of al Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb. We are proud to support the efforts of Algeria and the world community to combat this deadly threat and we will continue to do so."

AQIM carried out three attacks east of Algiers in early June 2008, including a bombing near a train station that killed a French national. In February 2008, AQIM kidnapped two Austrian tourists in Tunisia and has issued demands to the Austrian government for their release. In April 2007, AQIM bombed both the Algerian prime minister's office and police facilities in Algiers. AQIM conducted dual bombings in December 2007 of two United Nations offices and the headquarters of Algeria's Constitutional Council.

AQIM, which was formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), merged with al Qaida in September 2006. GSPC was one of the sixteen entities originally named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to E.O. 13224 on September 24, 2001. GSPC was added to the U.N. list on October 6, 2001. AQIM was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 on February 21, 2008 and was added to the U.N. list on April 26, 2007.

Identifier Information

SALAH GASMI

AKAs:            
Salah Abu Muhamad
Salah Abu Mohamed
Bounouadher

DOB:             
l3 April l97l
POB:              
Zeribet El Oued, Biskra, Algeria

Gasmi is the head of AQIM's information committee and is responsible for developing statements, circulating claims of responsibility for terrorist activities, and creating videos for AQIM.

As AQIM's representative to the media, Gasmi issued AQIM's claim of responsibility for its kidnapping of the Austrian hostages. Gasmi is one of the principal figures negotiating with the Austrian government for the release of the hostages. He represents AQIM leader Abdelmalek Droukdel's interests in the negotiations. Droukdel was added to the U.N. list on August 27, 2007 and was named an SDGT by the Treasury Department on December 4, 2007.

Gasmi also directs AQIM's internet communications with al Qaida senior leadership.

YAHIA DJOUADI

AKAs:            
Yahia Abu Amar
Abu Ala
Abou Alam

DOB:             
1 January 1967
POB:              
M'Hamid, Sidi Bel Abbas, Algeria

Djouadi is based in northern Mali and serves as the leader of AQIM in Africa's Sahara-Sahel region (also known as the AQIM South Zone). He is responsible for managing AQIM members in the South Zone and was actively recruiting Mauritanians as of early 2008.

Djouadi provided financial and operational support to a Moroccan AQIM-affiliated extremist who planned to establish an AQIM support base in North Africa.

Djouadi headed the AQIM military committee prior to his appointment as AQIM South Zone Emir.

AHMED DEGHDEGH

AKAs:            
Abd Al Illah
Abu Abdallah

DOB:             
17 January 1967
POB:              
Anser, Jijel, Algeria

Deghdegh is AQIM's finance chief.

Deghdegh has relayed AQIM messages in ongoing hostage negotiations; as AQIM's designated negotiator, Deghdegh communicated stipulations for the release of the hostages and issued ransom demands.

Deghdegh has acknowledged that AQIM has worked to undermine the interests of countries that support U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

ABID HAMMADOU

AKAs:            
Abid Hamadu
Abdelhamid Abu Zeid
Abdelhamid Abou Zeid
Youcef Adel
Abu Abdellah

DOB:             
12 December 1965
POB:              
Touggourt, Ouargla, Algeria

Hammadou is the deputy leader of AQIM's Tarek Ibn Zaid battalion and is based in northern Mali.

Hammadou was involved in kidnapping the Austrian tourists for AQIM in February 2008.

In 2003, Hammadou participated in the kidnapping of 32 foreign tourists in Algeria by the GSPC, AQIM's predecessor organization. Hammadou was appointed by regional AQIM leader al-Para to lead the Tarek Ibn Zaid battalion, which carried out the kidnapping (El Para, AKA Saifi Ammari, was named an SDGT on December 5, 2003). Hammadou and other members of the battalion received part of the ransom paid to liberate the tourists and allegedly used the funds to purchase weapons.

In June 2005, Hammadou led a unit of AQIM operatives in an attack on a Mauritanian military outpost that killed fifteen soldiers and wounded at least another fifteen.

Hammadou established a camp for AQIM recruits in northern Mali that included training in combat techniques, making and defusing bombs, and guerilla tactics.

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