Al Qaida in Africa recruiting Islamist fugitives to fight 'crusader France'
WASHINGTON — Al Qaida has launched a recruitment drive for operatives in North Africa.
Al Qaida Organization in the Islamic Maghreb has offered Muslims to battle Western interests in North Africa and Sahel. AQIM said it required operatives in a range of North African states amid the French military offensive in Mali.
"The front of the Islamic Maghreb today is in direst need of the support of the sons of Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, and Mauritania, to thwart the attack of crusader France and defeat its agents in the region, and empower the Islamic project," AQIM said.
The Washington-based SITE Intelligence Group said it tracked AQIM recruitment efforts on a range of Al Qaida-aligned website. SITE said the appeal was first seen on these sites on March 16.
AQIM said its recruitment drive was aimed at Islamist fugitives. The appeal said these fugitives would be welcomed by Al Qaida for operations in such countries as Algeria and Mali.
Western intelligence sources said AQIM has been playing a leading role in the war in Mali as well as insurgency operations in such neighboring states as Algeria and Mauritania. They said AQIM was also believed involved in the attack on Algeria's liquefied natural gas facility in January 2013.
In its appeal, AQIM said young Islamists in North Africa should remain in North African states, particularly Tunisia, and fight pro-Western influences. The insurgency movement said its appeal was aimed at Islamist fighters.
"Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb advised Islamist youths in North Africa and Tunisia in particular to remain in their countries in order to fight secularism, but told the jihadists among them to travel to fight crusader France," SITE said.