Al-Qaida has for the first time announced a union with an Algerian insurgent group that has designated France as an enemy, saying they will act together against French and American interests.
Current and former French officials specializing in terrorism said Thursday that an al-Qaida alliance with the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, known by its French initials GSPC, was cause for concern.
“We take these threats very seriously,” Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said, adding in an interview on France-2 television that the threat to France was “high” and “permanent,” and that “absolute vigilance” was required.
Al-Qaida’s No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, announced the “blessed union” in a video posted this week on the Internet to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.