Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) was formed in 1998 after splitting from the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). The group aims to establish an Islamic state within Algeria, and has been involved in numerous terror incidents against both local and western targets in the country. During those years most of the group's terror activity included guerilla-style ambushes against military personnel and kidnapping for ransom of western tourists.
In recent years, the GSPC developed strong ties with Al-Qaeda, leading up to an official merger declared by Ayman al-Zawahiri in September 2006. Since then, there has been a drastic rise in the number of terror attack executed by the group, as well as a shift in the targets and modus operandi which resemble Al-Qaeda more and more. It is believed AQIM is trying to unite the different terror group operating in North Africa under its name and serve as Al-Qaeda's branch in those areas.
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