Scene of Moroccan cafe bombing 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal)
May 2 - Al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight with US forces in Pakistan on Sunday, US President Barack Obama announced. Here are some details on Al Qaida's main affiliate groups in the Arabian peninsula, Iraq and North Africa.
AL QAIDA IN THE ARABIAN PENINSULA (AQAP)
-- Al Qaida's Yemeni and Saudi wings merged in 2009 into a new group, al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen. They announced this three years after a counter-terrorism drive halted an al Qaida campaign in Saudi Arabia.
-- AQAP's Yemeni leader, Nasser al-Wahayshi, was once a close associate
of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, whose father was born in Yemen, a
neighbor of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.
-- Yemen's foreign minister has said 300 AQAP militants might be in the country.
-- Nearly a year before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, al Qaida bombed the
USS Cole warship in October 2000 when it was docked in the southern
Yemen port of Aden, killing 17 U.S. sailors.
-- AQAP claimed responsibility for an attempt to bomb a US-bound
airliner on Dec. 25, 2009, and said it provided the explosive device
used in the failed attack. The suspected bomber, a young Nigerian man,
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had visited Yemen and been in contact with
-- AQAP staged several attacks in Yemen in 2010, among them a suicide
bombing in April aimed at the British ambassador, who was not injured.
-- The group also claimed responsibility for a foiled plot to send two
air freight packages containing bombs to the United States in October
2010. The bombs were found on planes in Britain and Dubai. Last November
AQAP vowed to "bleed" U.S. resources with small-scale attacks that are
inexpensive but cost billions for the West to guard against.AL QAEDA IN THE ISLAMIC MAGHREB (AQIM)
-- Led by Algerian militant Abdelmalek Droukdel, AQIM burst onto the
public stage in January 2007, a product of the rebranding of fighters
previously known as Algeria's Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat
-- The Salafists had waged war against Algeria's security forces but in
late 2006 they sought to adopt a broader jihadi ideology by allying
themselves with al Qaeda.
-- AQIM scored initial high-profile successes with attacks on the
government, security services and the United Nations office in Algiers
in 2007. Since 2008, attacks have tailed off as security forces broke up
AQIM cells in Algeria.
-- Although concrete intelligence is scant, analysts say there are a few
hundred fighters who operate in the vast desert region of northeastern
Mauritania, and northern Mali and Niger. AQIM's most high-profile
activity is the kidnapping of Westerners, many of whom have been
ransomed for large sums.
-- AQIM has claimed responsibility for the abduction of two Frenchmen
found dead after a failed rescue attempt in Niger last January and it is
also holding other French nationals kidnapped in Niger in September
2010. A tape, released on Islamist forums late last month, showed
pictures of each of the hostages.AL QAIDA IN IRAQ (AQI):
-- The group was founded in October 2004 when Jordanian militant Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi pledged his faith to Osama bin Laden and al Qaieda.
-- An Egyptian called Abu Ayyab al-Masri but also known as Abu Hamza
al-Muhajir is said to have assumed the leadership of al Qaida in Iraq
after Zarqawi was killed in 2006.
-- In October 2006, the al Qaida-led Mujahideen Shura Council said it
had set up the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), an umbrella group of Sunni
militant affiliates and tribal leaders led by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. In
April 2007 it named a 10-man "cabinet," including Masri as its war
-- Fewer foreign volunteers have made it into Iraq to fight with al
Qaida against the US-backed government but the group has switched to
fewer albeit more deadly attacks.
-- Militants linked to al Qaida claimed bombings in Baghdad on Dec. 8,
2009 near a courthouse, a judge training center, a Finance Ministry
building and a police checkpoint in southern Baghdad. At least 112
people were killed and hundreds wounded.
-- On April 18, 2010 Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi were
killed in a raid in a rural area northwest of Baghdad by Iraqi and U.S.
-- A month later the ISI said its governing council had selected Abu
Baker al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi as its caliph, or head, and Abu
Abdullah al-Hassani al-Qurashi as his deputy and first minister,
replacing al-Baghdadi and al-Masri.
-- Last October gunmen linked to the Iraqi al Qaida group seized
hostages at a Catholic church in Baghdad during Sunday mass. Around 52
hostages and police were killed in the incident, which ended when
security forces raided the church to free around 100 Iraqi Catholic
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