LONDON - The number two in the Islamist organization Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been arrested in northern Algeria, an Algerian news website reported on Monday.

The website of Tout Sur l'Algerie (TSA), an electronic daily, quoted security sources as saying that Salah Gasmi had been arrested on Sunday in front of a restaurant in the town of Cheurfa, about 90 miles (150 km) southeast of Algiers.

It was not possible to confirm the report immediately.

AQIM is a pan-Maghreb jihadist organization that has taken responsibility for a number of attacks, particularly in Algeria. It has sent fighters to Iraq and vowed to attack Western targets, according to the US Council on Foreign Relations website.

TSA said that Salah Gasmi was a communications specialist considered to be the mastermind behind a series of suicide attacks in Algeria in 2007.

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