Alwaght-Algerian security forces have dismantled an ISIS Takfiri terrorist group cell led by a former al Qaeda commander convicted in France for planning an attempted bombing.
Mohamed Yacine Aknouche, 43, was once a Europe-based affiliate of Algeria's so-called Islamic Armed Group (GIA), and was sentenced in absentia by a French court in 2004 to eight years prison for planning an attempted bombing in Strasbourg, said a security source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Local sources say Algerian forces nabbed Aknouche this week near Tipaza, a coastal city 50 km west of the capital Algiers. The notorious terrorist had been planning to carry out attacks on security forces before he was apprehended.
Terrorist attacks and bombings are rarer in Algeria since the North African country ended its decades-long 1990s war with armed terrorists in which 200,000 people died.
But remnants of al Qaeda brigades remain active and ISIS has been trying to recruit more people.
The Algerian newspaper Ennahar quoted unnamed security sources as saying the cell was based in the village of Ain Taggourait and had plotted attacks in Algiers. Aknouche's cell, it said, had trained in a nearby forest using homemade weapons.
After the 1990s war, Algeria fought several armed groups in a bloody conflict that ended when many militants accepted a truce and reconciliation deal.
There were around 35,000 active terrorists at the height of the conflict, but security sources say there are now between 800 to 1,000, mostly in remote mountain and border areas.
Die-hard terrorists that stayed in the mountains after rejecting the peace accord belong to both Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the local branch of ISIS known as Jund Al Khilafa. They have mostly targeted security forces in remote areas with ambushes.