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Northwest Africa

In Libya, Leader Moammar Gadhafi reportedly sponsored terrorists who bombed a jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, and a disco favored by GIs in Germany, but has kept Muslim radicals in check at home. He is said to be targeted by al-Qaida-supported groups, such as the Libyan Fighting Group, which seeks a purer Islamic government. A Canadian-based al-Qaida cell including Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian stopped at Port Angeles in December 1999 carrying bomb ingredients, has been linked to a possible co-conspirator in Mauritania. Ressam, who has said the bomb was to be used to attack the Los Angeles airport, allegedly had ties to the Armed Islamic Group a guerrilla movement known by its French initials, G.I.A. involved in a Muslim insurgency that has left 100,000 Algerians dead.

Area: Algeria (919,000 square miles); Libya (679,400 square miles); Mauritania (398,00 square miles).

Population: Algeria (31.7 million); Libya (5.1 million); Mauritania (2.6 million).


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