The Islamic State (Daesh) have announced the beginnings of a campaign to establish territory in Algeria.
According to a report in Ara News a statement published by the group on Saturday via the Amaq News Agency formally announced the start of operations within Algeria as well as claiming responsibility for the same-day bombing of a People’s National Army, (PNA) convoy.
The attack on the convoy occurred in the Skikda Province, to the North of the country. According to reports, militants detonated an explosive device next to the army convoy as it passed near Tamalous, a town in northeastern Algeria. It is not yet known whether the explosion caused any casualties.
Daesh has publicly vowed to continue their attacks in Algeria, and pledged to extend their operations against the PNA forces. According to Ara News, there are thought be at least 200 Daesh militants currently already active in the country.
Instability in Algeria has long influenced corresponding militant activity in Tunisia. Currently, the limited number of fighters with in the Chaambi mountain range are thought to receive arms and ammunition from Algeria’s dominant militant group, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, (AQIM).
However, in recent years AQIM numbers have come under increasing pressure from an increasingly assertive Daesh presence. In September 2014, a group of AQIM militants decided to abandon their former group and switch allegiance Daesh instead. Moreover, as Daesh territory has come under increasing pressure in Iraq and Syria, the group has been seeking other countries within which to assert themselves.
Last week the Paris Minister of Justice Tayeb Louh, when discussing relations with Algeria’s security, said: “We have discussed the necessary means in the fight against terrorism, which should not be limited only to the security aspects. The fight must be comprehensive,” including economic and social reforms, reports All Africa.
Despite this latest attack, Daesh activity within Algeria has previously been limited to the September 2014 beheading of a French tourist.
Algeria experienced a 10 year bloody civil war which ended in 2002 between the Algerian government and various Islamic rebel groups who organised a coup after they were denied an alleged electoral victory.