Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Insurgency in the Maghreb (2002–present)

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Start date  2002
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Similar  Operation Enduring Freedom, Northern Mali conflict, War on Terror, War in Somalia, Operation Enduring Freedom

The Insurgency in the Maghreb refers to Islamist militant and terrorist activity in the Maghreb and Sahel regions of North Africa since 2002. The conflict succeeded the conclusion of the Algerian Civil War as the militant group Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) allied itself with al-Qaeda to eventually become al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Algeria and other Maghreb states affected by the activity have been offered assistance in fighting extremist militants by the United States and the United Kingdom since 2007, when Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara began.


The Arab Spring in 2011 opened up for militant Islamists to put increasing pressure on governments and engage in full-scale warfare. In 2012 AQIM and Islamist allies captured the northern half of Mali, until being fought back less than a year later following a French-led foreign intervention, which was succeeded by the Sahel-wide Operation Barkhane. In Libya the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been able to control some limited territory in the ongoing civil war since 2014, amid allegations of local collaboration between the otherwise rivalling AQIM and ISIL.


With the decline of the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria (GIA), the GSPC was left as the most active rebel group, with about 300 fighters in 2003. It continued an assassination campaign of police and army personnel in its area, and also managed to expand into the Sahara, where its southern division, led by Amari Saifi (nicknamed "Abderrezak el-Para", the "paratrooper"), kidnapped a number of German tourists in 2003, before being forced to flee to sparsely populated areas of Mali, and later Niger and Chad, where he was captured.

Some believe that El Para actually works for the Algerian government. By late 2003, the group's founder had been supplanted by the even more radical Nabil Sahraoui, who announced his open support for al-Qaeda, thus strengthening government ties between the U.S. and Algeria. He was reportedly killed shortly afterwards, and was succeeded by Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud in 2004.

The GSPC has declared its intention to attack Algerian, French, and American targets. It has been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State, and similarly classed as a terrorist organization by the European Union.

Insurgency in Algeria

The conflict with the GSPC continued to result in a significant number of casualties in Algeria, with over 1,100 killed in clashes with Islamist rebels in 2002. In 2003, a total 1,162 were killed in clashes in Algeria, followed by 429 killed in 2004, 488 killed in 2005, and 323 killed in 2006. In early 2006, the head of the Algerian national police claimed that terrorism had nearly been eliminated in the country, but significant attacks continued, and 2007 would eventually mark a height of suicide bombings and terrorist attacks in Algeria.

Broadening of conflict

In order to improve recruiting and funding, the GSPC aligned itself with al-Qaeda, and on 11 September 2006, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced a union between the groups. The GSPC rebranded itself as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in January 2007, signaling the broadened aspirations of the group.

The group now aimed to overthrow all North African governments deemed apostate, including those of Algeria, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. Operations were shifted into two broader "sectors", Northern Algeria and Tunisia allocated a "central emirate", and northern Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Libya a "Sahara emirate" led by Djamel Okacha. The strategic leadership of AQIM continued to be headquartered in the mountainous region of Kabylie east of the Algerian capital Algiers, headed by a 14-member Shura council leadership.

As the Algerian counterterrorism campaign became largely successful in pushing AQIM out of the country, the group established new bases in Sahel countries such as Niger, Mauritania, Chad and Mali. Attacks against government and military installations were frequently underreported by Western media. In 2007, the United States and United Kingdom launched the Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara in support of governments in the region.

Frequent kidnappings of foreigners and hostage takings in 2008 led the Dakar Rally to be cancelled and permanently moved to South America.


In the earliest major attack as direct spillover of the Algerian conflict, the Mauritanian army base Lemgheity was attacked by the GSPC in June 2005, killing seventeen soldiers (and nine jihadists), and wounding another seventeen. The attack in part led to a coup d'état in October 2005 by Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who made a campaign against jihadists a major part of his rule. Attacks continued in Mauritania until it was largely successful in thwarting attacks since 2011 following a major military boost and political openings for Islamists. AQIM has however continued to remain active in the eastern border-regions with Mali, with active support systems for logistics and information.


In December 2006 and again in January 2007, Tunisian security forces engaged in clashes with a group linked to the GSPC that had established training camps in mountainous areas near the capital Tunis, killing more than a dozen people. According to French daily Le Parisien at least 60 people were killed in the clashes. The clashes were the most serious terrorist activity in Tunisia since the Ghriba synagogue bombing in 2002.

Starting in 2012, AQIM along with Ansar al-Sharia and the Uqba ibn Nafi Brigade active in the mountainous Jebel ech Chambi region outside Kasserine near the Algerian border have been targeted by the Tunisian Army in the Chaambi Operations. In 2014, Uqba ibn Nafi Brigade militants attacked two Tunisian military checkpoints, killing fourteen Tunisian soldiers and injuring twenty-five in what was the deadliest military skirmish in Tunisia since its independence in 1956. Since 2015, Tunisia has simultaneously been targeted by an ISIL terrorist campaign. In March 2016 over 50 were killed when ISIL militants attempted to seize Ben Guerdane near the Libyan border.

Libyan Civil War

Since the Libyan Civil War in 2011, south-western Libya has offered sanctuaries to AQIM which has dispatched cells to be established in the region. On 11 September 2012, members of Ansar al-Sharia and AQIM were responsible for coordinated attacks against two United States government facilities in Benghazi, and Ansar al-Sharia was later involved in clashes in Benghazi in 2013. Drawing defectors from AQIM, the rival Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was later able to control some limited territory in the north in the renewed civil war from 2014. After initial official support from AQIM, allegations have continued of local collaboration between the otherwise rivalling groups. After being pushed out of Derna, the remaining ISIL stronghold of Sirte was captured in late 2016. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists led by Ansar al-Sharia have at the same time continued to exert control in other places.

Northern Mali conflict

In 2012, AQIM and allied Islamist groups Ansar Dine and Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA) were able to capture the northern half of Mali after effectively overrunning the preceding Tuareg rebellion, which in turn had been sparked by former Tuareg fighters from the Libyan Civil War. In 2012 Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré was ousted in a coup d'état over his handling of the conflict. After Ansar Dine attempted a push into the south of the country, Mali requested France to launch a military intervention in January 2013 which successfully pushed rebels out. The military intervention was followed by an ongoing Sahel-wide French-led military operation with around 4,000 French soldiers actively deployed.

Small pockets of armed Islamists have remained active in northern Mali, and attacks have continued against the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, which has become one of the UN's deadliest international missions.

Boko Haram spillover

Having cooperated and trained alongside AQIM in the Sahel since 2006, the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram began expanding into Chad and Niger in 2014 after successfully seizing territory in the insurgency in Nigeria. By then controlling a significant area around Lake Chad, a coalition of Western African countries launched an offensive against the group in January 2015. The group eventually departed its alliance with al-Qaeda, pledging allegiance to ISIL in March 2015. By the end of 2015 Boko Haram had been largely pushed to retreat into the Sambisa Forest in Nigeria, although attacks have continued including in Niger.


  • Algerian Civil War with the GIA is considered to have ended in February 2002, GSPC continues insurgency.
  • On April 11, 2002, Ghriba synagogue bombing killed 22 (14 German tourists, five Tunisians, and two French nationals and the suicide bomber).
  • On May 5, 2002, 15 government soldiers are killed in an ambush near Tizi Ouzou, in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria. About 50 members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) were blamed for the assault.
  • On June 23, 2002, militants killed 6 civilians in an attack on youths playing football near a bus station in Zeralda, near Algier.
  • On July 17, 2002, militants killed 7 civilians in Ouled Allal, Bouira Province. Bringing the death toll of the previous three days to 22.
  • On September 13, 2002, militants killed 11 civilians on a road in northern Algeria, Ain Defla Province. The previous month, according to a toll compiled from press reports and official accounts, an estimated 140 people were killed in extremist violence, bringing the number of people who had been killed since the beginning of the year to 1070.
  • On September 19, 2002, 15 people are reported to have been arrested in Kabylie under suspicion of providing money and logistical help to the GSPC
  • On October 2, 2002, militants killed 13 civilians in a remote village in western Algeria, in Ain Defla Province.
  • 2003
  • On January 6, 2003, militants ambushed a military convoy in north-east Algeria killing 43 soldiers and wounding 19 others. Also militants attacked families near the capital, Algiers, killing 13 people.
  • Between 22 February and 24 March 2003, the Free Salafist Group or GSL, a splinter group of the GSPC led by Amari Saïfi (Abderrazak "El Para"), allegedly captures 32 European tourists in southern Algeria. On 13 May 2003, seventeen hostages are released and 2 militants are killed in a gun battle in the Algerian desert. The remaining fighters, with fifteen hostages, flee to northern Mali. After receiving a purported €5 million ransom paid by the German government, the GSL/GSPC releases the fourteen remaining hostages on 19 August 2003. The fifteenth hostage, a German, died of heat exhaustion.
  • May 16, 2003, 2003 Casablanca bombings killed 45 including 12 suicide-bombers.
  • In September 2003, Nabil Sahraoui was reported to have replaced Hassan Hattab as leader of the GSPC but other media reports have denied that any change has taken place.
  • On November 27, 2003, in Messad, Djelfa Province, Algeria, a well-known poet and member of the extended Royal Saudi family was killed and four others were injured in an apparent terrorist attack, according to press reports.
  • 2004
  • On May 2, 2004, it was reported that in the previous two days 7 members of the security forces, 6 civilians and 2 militants were killed in several locations: near Algiers and in the provinces of Medea, Bouira and Relizane.
  • On May 18, 2004, two bombs exploded killing two soldiers and wounding 13 people, including four soldiers, in Setif in eastern Algeria.
  • On June 2, 2004, fighters ambushed an Algerian military convoy in Béjaïa in eastern Algeria, killing 10 soldiers and wounding 45 others.
  • On June 28, 2004, the army killed three Islamic extremists in a raid near the capital, Algiers.
  • On September 20, 2004, militants killed 4 people at a roadblock they set up near Kalous in Bouira Province.
  • On September 29, 2004, militants attacked a civil defense post near the city of Ain Defla, killing 6 members of the civil defense force.
  • On October 22, 2004, militants attacked a vehicle near Medea carrying fans to a football match in the capital Algiers killing 16 people.
  • 2005
  • On April 9, 2005, militants killed 14 people at a mock roadblock near Algier. In addition another 36 people, including 15 security force members have been killed since the start of March.
  • On May 15, 2005, fighters ambushed an army convoy in the region of Khenchela killing 12 soldiers.
  • On June 13, 2005, an explosive device kills 3 soldiers and 3 civilians west of Tipaza.
  • On June 18, 2005, an explosive device killed a policeman during a police raid in El-Djer.
  • On June 23, 2005, an explosive device kills 11 policeman on the road linking Azzefoune and Aghrib in the province of Tizi Ouzou.
  • On July 18, 2005, Islamist militants killed five policemen in an ambush in Ain Defla in western Algeria.
  • On September 25, 2005 militants killed 5 members of the security forces. Three days before 7 soldiers and 3 civilians were killed in two other attacks. Since the beginning of the month another 16 soldiers, 12 civilians and 1 policeman were killed. The attacks took place in Boumerdes Province and close to Saida.
  • 2006
  • On February 1, 2006, the Algerian daily Liberté reports that spiritual leader Ahmed Abou al-Baraa (real name Ahmed Zarabib) has been killed by Algerian government forces in the mountains near Toudja on January 17.
  • On March 30, 2006, Hassan Hattab, a founder of the group, is reported to have called on its remaining members to accept an amnesty offered by the Algerian government.
  • On April 7, 2006, fighters ambushed a government convoy in the desert region of Ghardaïa in Algeria carrying customs agents killing 31 people.
  • On April 26, 2006, a suicide bomber attacked the base of the Multinational Forces and Observers at al-Jura wounding two members of the force.
  • On June 21, 2006, the Algerian army killed 10 Islamists in Ghzerwal, near Boumerdes.
  • On June 26, 2006, the Algerian army killed 19 Islamists in the eastern region of Khenchela, bring the number of people killed since the start of the latest unrest in Algeria to 53, including 36 suspected Islamists. Among the dead were also 7 soldiers killed on June 21 and 5 civilians killed on June 20.
  • On July 20, 2006, fighters killed 4 government municipal guards near Ain Defla. The attack followed a similar one on July 12 when 5 guards were killed near Tipaza.
  • On August 29, 2006, fighters attacked a checkpoint in El-Kseur in Béjaïa Province, killing 2 policemen and 1 civilian.
  • On September 14, 2006, al-Qaeda announced it will join the GSPC in their fight against France. They plan to attack France, the United States, and their allies.
  • On September 2, 2006 in separate clashes 6 soldiers were killed in the regions of Béjaïa and Medea.
  • In October, 2006 a series of truck bombs exploded in Algiers killing three and wounding 24.
  • On November 3, 2006 15 militants ambushed an army patrol in the Ain Defla region killing 8 soldiers.
  • On November 9, 2006 militants ambushed an army patrol in the Bouira region killing 7 soldiers and wounding 13.
  • On November 28, 2006 10 militants were killed in clashes in remote mountainous regions and also a week before a military helicopter was shot down by the Islamists killing 3 soldiers and 2 local guards.
  • On December 10, 2006 a bomb tore apart a bus carrying foreign oil workers in Algiers, killing four and wounding eighteen.
  • 2007–11

  • January: Tunisia said it killed 12 GSPC militants while losing two security men. The militants allegedly planned to attack the U.S. and British embassies in Tunis.
  • January 5: fighters killed 18 soldiers in an ambush in the region of Biskra.
  • January 21: a roadside bomb exploded under an army vehicle near Jijel in eastern Algeria killing one soldier and wounding another eight.
  • January 30: 5 soldiers and 10 Islamists were killed in fighting in the eastern region of Batna.
  • February 6: the United States began Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara in partnership with the United Kingdom and a number of partner states in the Sahel region.
  • February 13: seven bombs exploded at seven police stations in the Kabylie region killing 2 policemen and 4 civilians.
  • March 3: a bomb hits a convoy of Russian pipeline workers between the towns of Medea and Ain Defla, killing four Russians and seven Algerians.
  • Between March 11 and April 14: the 2007 Casablanca bombings killed 8.
  • April 7: 13 soldiers and 19 Islamists were killed in fighting in a wooded area in the Ain Defla Province.
  • April 11: a suicide attack at the entrance of the Ministry of Interior killed more than 24 people and wounded 300.
  • May 11: in various incidents 6 Islamists, 1 soldier and 1 policeman were killed near Tizi Ouzou, Saida and Jijel.
  • May 13: a bomb exploded at a police checkpoint in Constantine, Algeria, killing one policeman and wounding two.
  • May 14: 20 militants were killed in clashes near the capital.
  • July 11: a suicide truck bomber attacked a military barracks near Bouira, killing 10 soldiers and wounding 45.
  • September 3: during clashes in the Tebessa region five security forces members and a civilian were killed.
  • September 5: seven militants were killed when the army bombed a suspected militant hideout in the Tebessa region.
  • A US C-130 plane was attacked by a machine gun emplacement on September 12. The plane reached its destination in Mali and nobody was injured. Since the beginning of OEF-TS, 100 AQIM members have been killed by security forces with 261 noncombat fatalities.
  • September 15: a bomb exploded in front of a police compound in Zemmouri, near Boumerdes, killing three people and wounding five others.
  • September 22: a suicide bomber wounded nine people, including two Frenchmen and an Italian, in an attack in Lakhdaria, in the Bouira Province.
  • October 9: in clashes in Kabylie three militants, including the GSPC deputy leader, were killed.
  • October 15: in fighting in the Tizi Ouzou province three militants were killed.
  • November 16: Algerian forces killed the treasurer of al-Qaeda in Algeria, Abdelhamid Sadaoui, also known as Abou el Haythem, near Tizi Ouzou.
  • December 11: two suicide truck bombers attacked U.N. offices in Algiers, killing 37 people and injuring 171. The United Nations Security Council officially condemned this attack.
  • December 25: 4 French tourists were killed by gunmen in Mauritania and a fifth seriously injured. The victims were all part of the same family. See 2007 French tourists killing in Mauritania.
  • 2008
  • Al Qaeda's wing in north Africa claimed to have killed 120 Algerian soldiers and wounded 530 in clashes in its eastern stronghold, where the army has launched a campaign against the rebels. In an Internet statement posted on March 8, the group denied a newspaper report that 25 of its fighters had been killed and played down reports its leader had been surrounded.
  • June 6: a roadside bomb killed six soldiers and wounded four in Cap Djenat. The bombing came a day after a suicide bomber targeted a military barracks in an eastern Algiers suburb but killed only himself.
  • June 8: two bombs in quick succession rocked a train station in Beni Amrane, about 60 miles east of Algiers. The first bomb killed a Frenchman working on a renovation project at the station along with his driver. The second bomb came about five minutes later hitting the first responders and killing eight soldiers and three firefighters.
  • June 11: A Moroccan court convicted a cell of 29 recruiters and sentenced them to prison.
  • Moroccan forces arrested 35 Al Qaeda recruiters on July 2, 2008.
  • July 14: a leader of Al-Qaida in Algeria was killed in a security forces raid.
  • August 19: a suicide car-bomber attacked a police academy in Les Issers as recruits lined up in front of the building, 43 people were killed, only one of them a policeman. This attack was officially condemned by the United Nations Security Council.
  • August 20: another two car bombs exploded at a hotel in Bouira killing 11 civilians one day after the car bomb attack in Les Issers.
  • September 15: 12 Mauritanians were captured and later beheaded in northern Mauritania.
  • 2009
  • January 19: The bubonic plague infected and killed at least 40 members of AQIM in a training camp.
  • January 22: Gunmen abducted a Swiss couple, a German woman, and a British man in Niger. In February, Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb claimed to have abducted the four tourists as well as Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler in December. Fowler and three others were released in April while the British man, Edwin Dyer, was executed in June.
  • February 22: Militants attack a gas installation at the Ziama Mansouriah commune in the coastal province of Jijel, killing nine security guards in the deadliest strike since August.
  • June 17: 18 gendarmerie troops and a civilian were killed in an attack on a military convoy near Bordj Bou Arréridj, about 125 miles southeast of Algiers. Local sources said that the soldiers were returning after escorting to base a group of Chinese workers building the future motorway intended to cross the whole of the north African country from east to west.
  • July 30: At least 14 Algerian security guards were killed in an ambush by alleged Islamic fighters.
  • August 9: 2009 Nouakchott suicide bombing.
  • October 8: 2 brothers suspected of links to AQIM were arrested in France. One of the two was a CERN researcher.
  • Nov. 26: Frenchman Pierre Camatte was kidnapped in Ménaka, Mali by al-Qaeda.
  • Nov. 29: Spanish aid workers Roque Pascual, Albert Vilalta, and Alicia Gamez were kidnapped on a coastal road in Mauritania. Gamez was released in March 2010, while Pascual and Vilalta was released in August 2010.
  • Dec. 19: An Italian and his wife from Burkina Faso were kidnapped in eastern Mauritania. They were released on April 19, 2010.
  • Dec. 28: Three Saudi tourists were killed and three others injured in an attack near Djambala, Niger. A fourth Saudi died two days later.
  • 2010
  • January 29: A bomb exploded at the passage of a freight train loan Timezrit. Nobody was injured.
  • March 8: At least five soldiers were killed close to Niger's border with Mali, in a sunrise ambush in which rebels attacked a convoy with rockets and machine gun fire at an isolated border post.
  • March 21: 3 militants were killed by security forces near El Ma Labiod, 35 km from Tebessa.
  • March 25: Two soldiers were killed and five others wounded in an attack in the city of Kadiria.
  • March 26: 3 militants were killed while another was captured by security forces in Ait Yahia Moussa, 30 km from Tizi Ouzou.
  • April 1: A bomb attack against a taxi killed two people in Tizi-Ouzou. Another attack against a police patrol does not hurt.
  • April 3: Seven security officers and one soldier were killed in a double bomb attack in the region of Béjaïa. Two other soldiers were wounded in the second explosion.
  • April 14: According to Algerian officials, at least 10 militants were killed since a counter-terrorist operation started in Bordj Bou Arreridj raion. The operation is ongoing. Top militant Abdelmalek Droukdel could be surrounded with other militants, a military spokesman said.
  • April 23: At least 9 policemen were killed and another was slightly wounded when a bomb exploded in Irraguern (between Béjaïa and Jijel) while they were passing by. No other details have been reported.
  • April, 28: A fierce gunbattle between Algerian army and a group of militants occurred near Tidjellabine (2 km from Boumerdes). It is known that one soldier was killed, but the counter-terrorist operation was still going on according to Algerian officials.
  • May 2: One militant was killed in a clash with Algerian forces in a forest between Akfadou and Adekar. "He was wearing an old military jacket (...) he was killed on the spot" a military spokesman said. "The counter-terrorist operation is still going on" he added. This heavily forested area is often the scene of clashes between militants from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM, former GSPC) and Algerian army.
  • May 4: 3 militants, including the emir of "Takhoukht Jamaat" Zakaria Abdelkahar, were killed by security forces in Draa El Mizen (45 km from Tizi-Ouzou). It was reported that the authorities demanded them to stop their car and to surrender, but they refused and were killed. Several weapons and ammunitions were discovered in the car. No other details have been reported.
  • May 9: 2 people including a child were killed in an ambush in Kabylie. Another person is missing.
  • June 7: 2 people were killed and a third critically injured in a bomb attack near Derguina.
  • June 11: A suicide car bomb directed by a suicide bomber against a fixed barrier of the gendarmerie in Ammal resulted in 8 dead, including 3 policemen, four civilians and a Chinese national. Thus a score of wounded including 10 policemen and 10 civilians. At least three terrorists were killed during the violent clash that occurred after the blast.
  • June 24: 5 people were killed and one wounded by gunfire during a wedding at douar Ghrab near Tébessa.
  • July 1er: 11 policemen were killed in an ambush in the city of Tinzaouatine. This attack was claimed by AQIM.
  • July 4: 3 policemen killed by a bomb on a road near Jijel by suspected Islamists.
  • July 14: 4 soldiers were killed and 13 others wounded in several bomb attacks.
  • July 25: Six militants were killed in a Franco-Mauritanian raid against a camp of Al-qaeda in Mali to try to free the hostage Michel Germaneau. At the same time one person was killed and 10 wounded in a suicide attack against a police brigade in Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria.
  • July 26: A few days after AQIM claimed he was executed in reprisal against the French-Mauritanian raid, the French president confirms the death of 78-year-old French volunteer aid worker Michel Germaneau, who had been kidnapped on April 21. It cannot be ruled out that he died as a result of running out of heart drugs.
  • August 7: The mayor of the town of Baghlia, Mohammed Idir, was murdered when he went to the mosque.
  • August 20: An attack against a military convoy near Baghlia killed 13 people and injured at least two.
  • August 22: a former terrorist was assassinated by bullets in the town of Baghlia in Algeria.
  • August 24: An attempted suicide attack wounded 7 in Mauritania. The bomber's vehicle exploded before reaching its target, a military barracks in Néma.
  • August 30: A suicide car bomb against a military convoy left 3 dead and at least 20 wounded in the town of Zemmouri in Kabylie.
  • September 16: Gunmen abduct five Frenchmen, a Togolese, and a Malagasy from a uranium mine in northern Niger.
  • September 18: A battle between Mauritanian army and members of Al-Qaeda killed at least 6 members of the army and 12 militants.
  • October 3: Five soldiers were killed and ten others injured in a bomb attack against their convoy in Zekri, a town of Kabylie, during a search operation.
  • October 12: A departmental head in public works, his two collaborators and two contractors were killed in a bomb attack in Tlidjene.
  • October 25: 1 soldier was killed and four others wounded by a bomb explosion in the passage their patrol in the Boumerdes region.
  • 2011
  • January 4: An attack against the embassy of France in Mali's capital Bamako resulting in 1 injuries. This is the first such attack on Malian territory.
  • January 7: Two French citizens were kidnapped in Niamey, Niger and died in Mali while French troops were attempting to rescue them. AQIM declared on 15 January that it had executed one of them while the other one was killed by the French military. A post-mortem examination established that one of them received a direct shot, while the other one was killed by the "thermal effects of fire".
  • January 29: A member of the municipal guard was killed and three others wounded in an attack against the headquarters of the communal guard in the southwest of Tizi Ouzou.
  • February 3: The Mauritanian army has detonated a vehicle filled with explosives 12 km south of Nouakchott killing its three passengers and wounding eight soldiers. The attack was to assassinate the President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. That attack was claimed by AQIM.
  • March 9: An attack near Djelfa left 5 dead, in what appeared to be a response to the death of Abou Tourab, a leader of AQIM.
  • April 17: 20 Algerian soldiers were killed and twenty-two injured in three attacks claimed by Al Qaeda. Eleven militants were also killed.
  • April 28: 2011 Marrakech bombing. A remote controlled bomb explode in Argana café, on Jemaa el-Fnaa square. Amongst the dead are 7 French national, 2 Canadians and a Dutch.
  • April 29: The explosion of a bomb in the town of Oued Djemaa has killed five communal guards who went to their place of work.
  • May 6: A bomb that exploded at the passage of a military convoy killed five soldiers and wounded five other in a region of Jijel. Since April 15 and the address to the nation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika there were fifty deaths in Islamist attacks.
  • May 4: Four policemen were killed in a bomb attack on the road between Tizi-Ouzou, the main town of Kabylie, in Algiers the capital of the country.
  • May 6: Three soldiers were killed and two others wounded by gunmen in the region of Jijel. One was initially killed by firing a gun, the others were killed by a bomb attack.
  • May 12: Seven soldiers were killed and three terrorists killed in an attack against a military outpost in the region of Jijel, Algeria. An eighth member is missing and two were wounded in the attack with machine guns and Assault rifles, perpetrated in Tizrarane.
  • July 5: Al-Qaida claims to have attacked a Mauritanian army base in Mali claiming to have killed 20 soldiers and destroyed 12 vehicles. they also say he lost two of their men. The Mauritanian army for its part says it killed 15 militants and lost two men.
  • July 16: Four people were killed and twenty injured in attacks, including two attacks by suicide bombers in the east of Algiers. In addition near the Tunisian border, two gunmen were killed.
  • August 14: A suicide bombing against a police station injured more than 30 in the city of Tizi Ouzou, Similarly, two people were killed in a double bomb attack targeting a police station in Bordj Menaiel.
  • August 17: A soldier was killed and five injured in a bomb attack in the town of Thenia.
  • August 22: A soldier was killed and two others wounded in the explosion of a roadside bomb in Taourga. In addition, two officers from the Hasnaoui were murdered and a young civilian was hit by bullets.
  • August 24: One militant was wounded and policemen recovered two Kalashnikovs in a clash near Tizi-Ouzou.
  • August 27: A suicide attack against the Military Academy Cherchell, a hundred kilometers west of Algiers, killed 18 people, 16 officers and two civilians and wounded 20 others. The attack occurred less than ten minutes after breaking the fast of Ramadan.
  • September 27: 5 men suspected of funding AQIM were arrested by Spanish police. Since 2004, over 400 suspected AQIM members have been arrested by Spain.
  • October 23: Two Spaniards and an Italian were abducted near Tindouf in western Algeria. The Spaniards were identified as Ainhoa Fernandez de Rincon, a pro-Sahrawi activist, and Enric Gonyalons, a member of the Basque non-profit group Mundubat. The Italian was named as Rossella Urru from Rome-based Comitato Italiano Sviluppo dei Popoli. The three were freed on 18 July 2012.
  • November 23: Gunmen kidnapped two French workers in Hombori, Mali.
  • November 25: Gunmen killed a German tourist and kidnapped a Swede, a Dutchman and a British/South African in Timbuktu, Mali.
  • 2012–present

  • January 16: The start of the Northern Mali conflict.
  • 2013
  • January 16: In Aménas hostage crisis in Algeria.
  • May 23: Twin suicide attacks occur in Niger targeting a military base in Agadez and a uranium mine in Arlit.
  • 2014
  • April 19: AQIM militants killed eleven soldiers in the Tizi Ouzou region of Algeria, east of Algiers. It was one of the deadliest attacks on the Algerian military in several years.
  • December 11: French troops in Mali killed top Islamist commander Ahmed al Tilemsi. Tilemsi was a founding member of Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) and held a $5 million bounty. 2014: Jund al-Khilafah Ambushes Algerian army convoy, killing 11 Algerian soldiers.
  • 14 September: Jund al-Khilafah leader Khaled Abu-Suleiman announces the group's split from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and pledges allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
  • 21 September : Hervé Gourdel is abducted by Jund al-Khilafah in the Djurdjura National Park in Algeria.
  • 22 September: Jund al-Khilafah releases a video showing Hervé Gourdel being held captive. The group stated that the kidnapping was in response to France conducting Airstrikes against "Islamic State" and threatened to behead him if France continued to carry out airstrikes against ISIL.
  • 24 September: The group releases a video purporting to show the beheading of Hervé Gourdel. The militants shown stated that the beheading was in response to the order of ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, in which he called on followers to attack citizens of member nations of the anti-ISIL coalition.
  • October: One of the Jund al-Khilafah militants responsible for the beheading of Hervé Gourdel was killed in an Algerian military operation in October.
  • 11 December: The Algerian justice ministry states that Algerian soldiers had killed two Jund al-Khilafah members believed to have been involved in the murder of Hervé Gourdel.
  • 20 December 2014: Algerian soldiers kill three Jund al-Khilafah members in the mountains near Sidi Daoud.
  • 22 December: Jund al-Khilafah leader Abdelmalek Gouri and two other militants were killed by the Algerian army in a military operation in Issers. Afterwards, troops recovered two automatic rifles, explosive belts, and a large amount of ammunition and mobile phones.
  • 2015
  • March 19: The Bardo National Museum attack in Tunis killed 21,mostly foreign tourists.
  • March 28: Tunisian Special Forces killed Khaled Chaieb, leader of Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade along with 8 more militants in Sidi Aïch, Gafsa Governorate south west of Tunisia.
  • 28 April: The Algerian military killed 5 Jund al-Khilafah militants, in an ambush in the region of Tizi Ouzou, east of Algiers.
  • 20 May: Algerian security forces ambushed a Jund al-Khilafah meeting east of Algiers, killing at least 21 fighters and capturing two others.
  • June 26: The Sousse attacks at the resort at Port El Kantaoui killed 39 European tourists, mostly British citizens.
  • July 17: At least 9 Algerian soldiers were killed in an ambush by AQIM militants in the south of Aïn Defla province, southwest of Algiers.
  • November 20: The al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb attacked an Hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali, killing 20 people, and taking hostage another 170.
  • November 25: ISIS has claimed responsibility for bombing a bus carrying members of Tunisia's presidential guard killing 12.
  • November 28: Ansar Dine attacked UN peacekeepers in Kidal killing 2 soldiers and one contractor.
  • 2016
  • January 15: Gunmen armed with heavy weapons attacked the Cappuccino restaurant and the Splendid Hotel in the heart of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. The number of fatalities reached 30, while at least 56 were wounded; a total of 176 hostages were released after a government counter-attack into the next morning as the siege ended. Three perpetrators were also killed. The nearby YIBI hotel was then under siege, where another attacker was killed. Notably, former Swiss MPs Jean-Noël Rey and Georgie Lamon were killed. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Al-Mourabitoun.
  • February 5: UN base in Mali attacked by unknown Islamists.
  • February 11: Suspected Islamist militants killed two civilians and a customs officer and burned a car in an attack on a customs post in Mopti, central Mali.
  • February 12: Five UN peacekeepers killed in Kidal, Mali and over at least 30 wounded, from an insurgent attack.
  • February 15: AQIM confirmed the death of MOJWA spokesman, Omar Ould Hamaha, in a France airstrike.
  • February 20: Jund al-Khilafah claimed to have killed killed three Algerian soldiers in Mount Shakshut in Bouira in late February. This claim was denied by the Algerian government.
  • February 23: Gunmen attacked a checkpoint southwest of the Malian town of Timbuktu overnight killing three soldiers and wounding two others.
  • March 1:Its reported that France special forces conducted two separated raids killing a Spanish AQIM commander, Abu al Nour al Andalusi, and two fighters of Al-Mourabitoun.
  • March 6: Ansar Dine claims four attacks across Mali, detonatting three UN vehicles in Kidal, Tesslitnear, Aguelhok and an attack on a UN camp in Kidal with rockets, meanwhile defense ministers from West Africa's arid Sahel region have agreed to work together to establish special rapid reaction forces to counter the growing threat from al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked militants.
  • March 7: Morocco's Interior Ministry says it has dismantled a five-member ISIS group cell planning to detonate explosives in crowded public spaces. Also 43 militants, one soldier and four citizens they killed and six militants arrested after ISIL in Libya Jihadists attacked a border town in Libya-Tunisia border.
  • March 9: 10 militants and 1 soldier killed in the ongoing raid of Libyan-Tunisian border. Also, the African Union confirmed that will send a mission to northern Mali in the next of the months to look into setting up a counter-terrorism force to support vulnerable U.N. peacekeepers.
  • March 10: Warring Tuareg clans in northern Mali have agreed to cease hostilities after tit-for-tat violence killed dozens of people from the start of the year. Also three ISIL fighters are killed in Libya-Tunisia border during ongoing classes.
  • March 13: AQIM and Al-Mourabitoun attacked the town of Grand-Bassam, in the Ivory Coast, killing at least 18 people, including 3 members of the country's special forces, and 4 European tourists. 3 of 6 assailants also killed.
  • March 15: AQIM branch said its attack in the Ivory Coast on 13 of March that killed 18 people was revenge for the France Operation Barkhane against Islamist militants in the Sahel region and called for its forces to withdraw. Also, Ivory Coast has raised its security alert to the highest level and President Alassane Ouattara has pledged that the country would not be "intimidated by terrorists" following the attack of the 13 of March that killed 18 people.
  • March 16:France government said it will deploy a paramilitary police force in the capital of Burkina Faso to react quickly in the event of new attacks by Islamist militants in West Africa, after the Ivory Coast attack by AQIM.
  • March 18: A gas facility in the Algerian desert has been attacked by AQIM, though no one was hurt, Norwegian oil giant Statoil has said.
  • March 19:Three policemen were shot dead by AQIM soldiers in a Niger village near the border with Burkina Faso. One soldier was killed and two others wounded when a military convoy was attacked close to Nigeria's border by Boko Haram fighters.
  • March 22:AQIM attacked a European union military training mission’s headquarters in the Malian capital, Bamako, with left an insurgent dead. In the same day, the Ivory Coast arrested the suspected leader and other 15 militants of the AQIM group that conducted the beach attacks of the 13 March. The man is named Kounta Dallah.
  • March 23:21 AQIM suspects captured by the Mali police, in respond fir their attack in an EU base in Bamako.
  • March 24:Morocco captured 9 ISIL in Libya operatives inside the Moroccan territory.
  • March 27: Two AQIM fighters arrested in Mali over Ivory Coast resort attack.
  • March 28: 18 Algerian soldiers killed in an airplane crush in the Tamanrasset region. Is unknown if the crush was because of terrorist attack or of technical mistake.
  • March 31: AQIM in Tunisia, has claimed an attack on Tunisian border guards near the town of Bouchebka on the Algerian border, wounding some soldiers. A Mali intelligence spokesman says special forces have arrested a jihadi leader close to Islamic extremist group Ansar Dine in southern Mali.
  • April 5: 4 AQIM soldiers killed in Algeria near the Tunisian border.
  • April 9: Ansar Dine claimed two bombings on the Aguelhok-Tessalit axis just north of the city of Kidal.
  • April 10: On April 10, gunmen ambushed a Malian military patrol outside of Timbuktu near the town of Gourma injuring three soldiers.
  • April 12: Three France soldiers killed by an IED in northern Mali. Also 2 another Malian soldiers, and one Chadian killed by land mines.
  • April 18: Spanish police said they had detained a Moroccan man in the Mediterranean island resort of Palma de Mallorca suspected of recruiting militants for ISIS.
  • April 22: Mali police captured the AQIM mastermind of the terrorist attacks of November 2015 in Radisson blu hotel in Bamako. The man identified as a Mauritanian by the name of Fawaz Ould Ahmeida.
  • April 29: Algerian government said that it killed five AQIM fighters in two separate raid in eastern Algeria.
  • May 6: Tunisian forces capture 9 AQIM militants in the Tunisian countryside.
  • May 7: Brother of Abdelhamid Abaaoud jailed over terrorist accusations.
  • May 11: Two suspected ISIL members killed along with four Tunisian soldiers after a raid on Tunisian capital.
  • July 31: In Timbuktu, northern Mali, a captain of the Malian army was killed by four AQIM members
  • August 29: In Atlas Mountains near by Algeria 3 Tunisian soldiers were killed and 7 others wounded by AQIM militants
  • September 2: In Markoye, Burkina Faso killed ISIS members 1 border guard and a civilian.
  • September 9: 3 Malian troops were killed after suspected AQIM fighters ambushed them in the centre of the country.
  • September 26: In Timbuktu, Mali a Mali Military gard and his cousin were killed in their house by terrorists.
  • 3 October - One Blue helmets was killed and several others wounded in an attack on their base in Aguelhok, Mali.
  • 6 October - The Malian refugee camp Tazalit in the Tasara region was attack by forty assailants, presumably AQIM,.Twenty people were killed (all site security forces). One refugee was injured.
  • 9 October - One of the main Tuareg leaders of Mali, Cheikh Ag Awssa, military head of the High Council of Azawad (HCUA, French acronym), died Saturday when the vehicle he was traveling with his son stepped on a mine, reported today the Coordinator movements of Azawad (CMA).
  • 9 October In Tamalous, Algeria ISIS militants detonated an explosive device adjacent to the army convoy as it passed near Tamalous town in northeastern Algeria. It was not immediately clear whether the explosion caused any casualties.
  • 12 October - Burkina Faso's defense ministry says heavily armed assailants have attacked a military position in the north near the Mali border, killing three soldiers and wounding another.ISIS claims responsibility for the attack.
  • 14 October - An American aid worker has been kidnapped in a town northeast of Niger's capital Niamey, before being taken by his abductors to Mali, according to a security source.Armed men raided the house of the aid worker on Friday, killing his two guards before driving him off across the desert, the mayor of the town of Abalak said on Saturday.
  • 28 October - A police officer was killed by three assailants while eating in a restaurant in the Constantine District in Constantine Province, around 240 miles east of Algiers. Islamic State claims responsibility for the attack.
  • 3 November - A peacekeeper was killed and five others were injured when militants attacked a military base. After the shooting,a bomb exploded,killing one soldier and injuring dozens more. AQIM claims the attack.
  • 4 November -
  • A Chadian peacekeeper was killed and eight others were injured,in a terrorist attack AQIM claims the attack
  • A French soldier was killed and four others injured after that their truck exploded because of a land mine in the north of Kidal Ansar Dine claims the attack.
  • 5 November -
  • A Tunisian soldier has been killed in his home in Governorate Kasserine, Tunisia by extremists.
  • An Al-Qaeda-linked group has released a video showing the purported execution of two Malians accused of collaborating with French counter-terrorism forces in Mali.
  • 6 November -
  • A convoy of MINUSMA was attacked in the center of the country, about 25 kilometers north of the town of Douentza. The convoy hit a mine or an IED and the assailants are then out of hiding by opening fire. One peacekeeper died, seven others were wounded. Ansar Dine claims the attack
  • A Togolese peacekeeper was killed along with two civilians when the convoy was attacked in Gourma, Mali. AQIM claims the attack.
  • Militants attack a military base,killing a Togolese in Gourma-Rharous Cercle, Mali. AQIM claims the attack.
  • Militants raided in a prison and freeing 21 prisoners. They also kidnapped a guard in Banamba, Mali. Ansar Dine claims the attack
  • 11-12 November - In Gao, Mali have one of the positions of the Malian army was targeted by terrorists on motorcycle. Two soldiers were injured. Al-Mourabitoun claims the attack.
  • 13 November -
  • Militants attacked a military checkpoint, in Gao, Mali killing one soldier and injuring other two.
  • Two people were killed in two attacks in Djibo.
  • 6 December - Al-Qaeda militants attacked a prison in Niono, Mali. Two guards were injured. Dozens of prisoners have escaped.
  • Casualties

    The majority of the civilians killed are from Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritiana, Morocco and Libya. Also, civlians from Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast were killed. The foreigner killed in terrorist incidents were from Germany, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Russia, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Japan, Philippines, Norway, United States, Malaysia, Romania, Colombia, Italy, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, China, Senegal, Nepal, South Africa, Israel, Ukraine, Macedonia, Lebanon and Nigeria.


    Insurgency in the Maghreb (2002–present) Wikipedia

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