Security


Algeria: Al-Qaeda uses elderly terrorists in change of tactics




Algiers, 13 Dec. (AKI) – (By Hamza Boccolini) - In a major strategic change, the Algerian arm of Al-Qaeda appears to be using terrorists older than 60 to carry out its attacks.

That is the finding to have emerged from early analysis of the dual bombings that struck Algiers on Tuesday.

Arab media and analysts have spoken of the "return of the elderly" to describe the strategic change by Al-Qaeda's Branch in the Islamic Maghreb (BAQMI) that claimed responsibility for the bombings in the Algerian capital.

The Algerian government said that at least 26 people were killed and more than 170 wounded by the two bombs. However hospital sources say that more than 60 people died in the attacks.

In a statement posted on Islamist websites, al-Qaeda's North Africa wing said that they had used 800 kilogrammes of explosives in each of the two suicide attacks.

Earlier this year al-Qaeda terrorists in Algeria had decided to use young people to carry out their attacks, but now they have changed their stragegy and appear to have decided to use terrorists aged in their 60's.

To avoid Algerian security at key positions in the city, such as the United Nations building, leader of BAQMI Abu Musa Abdel Wudud and his collaborators used a 64-year-old white-haired terrorist, Rabah Bashla, in the suicide attack.

Algeria's minister for internal affairs, Yazid Zarhuni, who went to visit those injured in the attack said a youth had told him that a security official had stopped the drivers gathering there and asked them to move backwards.

One of them refused and he was reportedly the elderly truck driver who later blew himself up. He was said to be in a hurry and looking for a way to get closer to the building.

"He was considered to be a normal person with very white hair and no-one imagined that he was a terrorist," said Zarhuni.

According to most Algerian newspapers, it is the first time that al-Qaeda has used 60 year olds for a suicide attack and this tactic caught everyone by surprise.

The only newspaper that was not so certain was Ech-Chourouk that closely follows Islamic terrorism.

"The use of people of an older age to carry out suicide attacks is not in conflict with the nature of jihadi movements, looking to involve all people of all ages and not only young people even though there are many of them," Algerian sociologist Nasreddin Jabi told the TV network, al-Arabiya.

According to Arab analyst, Abdel Ali al-Razqi, personal factors would have been behind the attack and not a clear strategy from al-Qaeda.

"The man of an older age who did the suicide attack has acted on a kind of personal vendetta to react against problems in his life, " he said. " He had family problems or he knew some members of an armed group that convinced him to carry out this operation."

Algerian police noted last September that in the five preceding months al-Qaeda had recruited 50 youths under the age of 16. There have been reports in the Arab newspaper al-Hayat saying that the terrorist group was concentrating on recruiting young people.




 

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