Al-Qaida in North Africa: jihad outlives Bin Laden

AP News
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Posted: May 26, 2011 3:56 PM
Al-Qaida in North Africa: jihad outlives Bin Laden

The head of al-Qaida's North Africa branch said Thursday that the killing of Osama bin Laden will only stoke Muslim anger against the West.

The 10 minute audio message posted on jihadist forums is the latest defiant statement from the extremist organization's many affiliates as they assert that the battle against what they perceive as the West's oppression of Muslims is far from over, despite the death of al-Qaida's founder.

"Today is not a day of crying, although the likes of him are worthy of tears, but it is a day to reaffirm the allegiance and the covenant with God the Almighty; a day to pledge retaliation and to insist on victory," said Abu Musab Abdul-Wadud, a pseudonym for Abelmalek Droukdel, who heads al-Qaida's North Africa affiliate.

"We are all Osama," he added, in a translation provided by the U.S.-based SITE Monitoring Service that specializes in jihadist online forums.

Al-Qaida in North Africa grew out of a militant faction left over from Algeria's civil war in the 1990s that joined bin Laden's network in 2006. The group has killed several hundred people over the past few years and has stepped up attacks in Algeria's eastern highlands.

It has also kidnapped a number of foreigners across the vast expanses of the Sahara Desert and been implicated in terrorist incidents in Europe.

While al-Qaida had little role in the popular uprisings that have swept the Arab world and toppled the governments of Egypt and Tunisia over the past few months, security experts worry that the extremist organization may take advantage of the resulting security vacuum.

The repressive intelligence services of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, in addition to keeping an eye on their own people, worked closely with Western intelligence agencies to combat elements of al-Qaida.

Abdul-Wadud criticized the rushed sea burial of bin Laden after he was killed during a U.S. commando raid in Pakistan on May 2, saying it was like "oil poured upon the raging fire of revenge and anger that was originally in our hearts."