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Database: Identifiers of Designated Islamic Terrorist Organizations
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Designated as terrorist by: Australia, Canada, European Union, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States
Base of operations: Algeria, Mali
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) got its start in 1998 as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, which split from the Armed Islamic Group that fought a guerilla war against the Algerian government in the 1990s. It took its current name in 2007 after formally merging with al-Qaeda, with which it shares the goals of cleansing North Africa of Western influence and instituting Islamic law. AQIM has attacked Algerian military and government targets, the UN offices in Algiers, and the Israeli embassy in Mauritania. It has killed Westerners in the region, including American aid worker Christopher Leggett in 2009. An AQIM splinter group was responsible for the bloody seizure of an Algerian natural gas plant in 2013. Around the same time, AQIM and others tried to grab large chunks of northern Mali but were pushed back by French intervention. It has been speculated that AQIM was tied to the terrorists who assaulted the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, killing four Americans.
AQIM released a statement in late June 2014 declaring support for the Islamic State-spearheaded insurgent gains in Iraq but in the following month rejected the Islamic State's caliphate declaration.
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