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Algerian Civil War /
From French: Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat
Arabic: 'al-jamā¢a 'as-salafiyya li-l-da¢wa wa-l-qitāl
In English: Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat

GSPC leader: Hassan Hattab

Hassan Hattab.

GSPC leader: Nabil Sahraoui

Nabil Sahraoui.

GSPC leader: Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud

Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud.

Hassan Hattab 1998-2003
Nabil Sahraoui 2003-2004
Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud 2004-

In Algeria, during the Algerian Civil War (1992-1999), a militant Islamist group operating from 1998 until 2007. The group now seems to call themselves al-Qa'ida in Islamic North Africa (AQIM). For understanding their first name, see article on Salafism.
As seen from the year indications, GSPC belongs to the period usually not considered part of the Civil War, simply from the fact that the actions since 1999 have been too few to be deemed "war".
The establishment of GSPC was a protest against GIA's killings of civilians. GSPC has mainly attacked soldiers, in recent years, even they started killing civilians to some extent.
The number of activists in the GSPC is only a matter of speculation; between 400 and 3,000. The number of killed from their action may be around 1,000, but for several alleged incidents, some commentators have identified other perpetrators.
The group is said to finance its activities from the income of criminal activities, especially smuggling, extortion and money laundering.
From the GSPC, a new group, the Free Salafist Group (GSL) emerged, and has been suggested to have kidnapped 32 European tourists in southern Algeria in 2003.

1998 September 14: Former GIA regional commander, Hassan Hattab, breaks with old comrades, and creates his own group, the GSPC. Many GIA members join him.
2002 May 5: 15 government soldiers killed by GSPC near Tizi Ouzou; their bloodiest action.
2003 September: Nabil Sahraoui becomes new emir of GSPC, and makes the organization part of the al-Qa'ida network. It is possible that this is when the group changed its name into al-Qa'ida in Islamic North Africa.
2004 June: Shraoui dies, and Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud becomes new emir of GSPC.
2006 February: About 400 GSPC guerillas surrender to the Algerian authorities, following a new amnesty law.
March 30: Hattab call on GSPC members to accept an amnesty offer from the Algerian government. GSPC would survive this.
2007 January GSPC declares a change of name, to Al-Qa'ida in Islamic North Africa.

By Tore Kjeilen