Interlude

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En frykter at antall drepte i Alger kan komme opp i 100. Franske sikkerhetskilder frykter at Europa står for tur. Den tette kontakten mellom Algerie og Frankrike gjør det lett å komme seg inn. Hvis de først er inne er det vanskelig å oppdage dem, sier en kilde.

Frankrike kan stå for tur. Nicolas Sarkozy har lagt seg tettere opp til USA og Israel. Han er dessuten av jødisk avstamning.

AQIM: Al Qaida in Islamic Maghreb

Indeed, French security officials say that AQIM’s organizational effectiveness makes it the largest risk of non-homegrown terror to continental Europe. The French, who keep a very close eye on suspected terror cells on their own territory, are nervous that the AQIM cells from Algeria may be rolled out against France and other European nations, all relatively easy to reach from just across the Mediterranean. Says one counter-terrorism investigator: «If they can make it in under our radar, we’re blind to them – unless they make the mistake of making local contacts. That’s our concern.»

The threat of that kind of imported strike has grown since the AQIM promised to extend its Algerian jihad to Europe. Bin Laden deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri has repeatedly threatened Europe – and France in particular – as enemies of jihadist forces. Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s friendlier relations with the U.S. and relatively pro-Israel positions have only increased extremists’ ire. Since his taking office last May, officials say, radical websites have cited Sarkozy’s support of Israel – and his own Jewish ancestry – in calling for terror strikes against France.

Attack in Algiers: A Warning to Europe