Arabic: al-jamā¢atu l-'islāmiyati l-musallah
From French: Group Islamique armé
In English; Armed Islamic Group
In Algeria, during the Algerian Civil War (around 1992-1999), armed Islamist group. GIA was active from 1992 or 1993 until 2005 or 2006.
|Rachid Abou Tourab
According to what has been reported on their own program, their aim is to exterminate all Jews, Christians and infidels from the land of Algeria, as well as to overthrow the existing regime, in a holy war, Jihad. The regime should be replaced by a caliphate.
Apparently, from 1997, GIA implemented a tafir ideology, in which all Algerian Muslims were considered infidels unless they joined or aided GIA.
Much of GIA's ideology and strategy was formed in Europe, and their political program was much inspired by Omar El-Eulmi who had affirmed that "political pluralism is equivalent to sedition". Especially from the UK, with figures like Abu Qatada al-Falastini and the extremist magazine al-Ansar, they brought forth the necessary Islam-linked justifications for killing civilians. GIA also worked out of France and Belgium.
GIA recruited members especially from cities in northern Algeria, but with a core member group of veterans who had served in the war in Afghanistan (since 1979).
GIA established themselves in France, Belgium and Great Britain, enjoying protection under European laws, they were able to organize and finance the killings of thousands of civilians.
The GIA strategy for actions was to attack to government of Algeria, by defining anyone working for or with the government structures as target for their killings.
The exact number of victims from GIA actions cannot be set, it is several thousands. The clear majority are Algerian nationals, civilians and military and police. Their targeted actions against foreign nationals came to cost about 100 their life, stating that anyone staying in Algeri for more than a month risked being killed.
The school system has been another target for their actions, and close to 1,000 schools have been burnt down, and more than 200 teachers have been murdered.
From 1995, GIA focused on car bombs, assassinations of musicians, sportsmen and unveiled women. In 1997 and 1998, GIA entered a stage of extreme brutality, and nobody were spared. Reports claim that pregnant women were sliced open, children were hacked to pieces or were dashed against walls. For men, they could hack limbs off. Young women could be taken into captivity, to be used as sex slaves.
GIA was in strong opposition to competing Islamist groups, and issued death threats against several members of both FIS and MIA (Islamic Armed Movement).
The GIA never cooperated with FIS, and there was a strong political and ideological divide between the GIA and the militant portion of FIS, the AIS.
1992 July GIA is formed, coming out of Islamist fighters, many with experience in Afghanistan. Mansour Meliani breaks woith Abdelkader Chebouti and forms GIA.
Late July: Meliani is arrested, and GIA breaks up.
1993 January: GIA is revived by Abdelhak Layada, also in opposition to Chebouti.
GIA declares that foreigners (that is, Christians and Jews) living in Algeria, are their main target.
GIA performs extreme massacres on the Algerian civilian population, in some cases, whole villages are wiped out.
1994 March: Cherif Gousmi becomes new leader of GIA; under his leadership it develops into the most important guerilla group in Algeria.
May: Central members of FIS and MEI (???) joins GIA, members that had had death threats issued by GIA against them.
August: 5 French embassy employees are killed by the GIA.
August 26: GIA declares that a Caliphate, an Islamic government has been established in Algeria, with Gousmi as Caliph. The construction was abandoned by several of its headp within few days.
September: Cherif Gousmi is killed.
October: Djamel Zitouni becomes new National Emir of GIA.
December 24: GIA guerilla hijacks a French plane in Algiers, but are killed by French troops when landing in France.
End of year: Even after a united AIS has taken over half of the guerrillas of the east and west, GIA is still almost dominating in the region around Algiers.
1995: GIA calls for jihad against France.
About this time, the region south of Algiers, in particular, came to be virtually dominated by the GIA. The GIA themselves called it the "liberated zone", while outsiders called it the "triangle of death".
November: GIA declares that it will kill anyone voting in the presidential elections.
December: GIA kills one of the leading chiefs of AIS.
1996 May 7 Trappist monks are murdered and mutilated by the GIA at Tibhirine.
July: Zitouni is killed, after he had been stripped of international and national support. Antar Zouabri becomes new National Emir, and his period would become the bloodiest of GIA.
The FIS leaders who had joined the GIA, are killed within GIA being accusing of attempting a takeover.
December: AIS leader for central Algeria, Azzedine Baa, is killed by GIA.
1997 January: GIA declares AIS an enemy.
1997: Zouabri acquired a new ideology. Though admitting that jihad was becoming less popular with the population, GIA this year would launch actions more bloody than ever before. Thousands of civilians were killed and mutilated, even children and babies.
September: Zouabri declares that anyone not joining the GIA were impious.
December: During the fast in Ramadan, more than 1,300 are killed by the GIA.
1998: Splinter in the GIA, where many members form the more moderate GSPC, which would take over GIA's influence.
Actions are taken against the GIA across Europe, in order to secure the situation ahead of the French World Cup in football; about 100 members are arrested.
1999: Amnesty is offered by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and possibly 85% of GIA's members accepts the offer, and leaves GIA.
2002 February: Zouabri is killed by security forces. Rachid Abou Tourab becomes new emir.
2004 July: Tourab killed. Nourredine Boudiafi becomes new emir.
2005 November: Boudiafi is arrested by Algerian security forces.
2006: Algerian authorities claim that the organization of GIA is practically all destroyed.