Al Qaeda has for the first time announced a union with an Algerian insurgent group that has designated France as an enemy and has vowed they will act together against French and American interests.
Current and former French officials specializing in terrorism said a Qaeda alliance with the Salafist Group for Call and Combat was cause for concern.
Al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, announced the "blessed union" in a video posted this week on the Internet to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.
French officials have long regarded the Salafist Group, known by its French initials GSPC, as one of the main potential terror threats for France, the International Herald Tribune reports.
The French interior ministry said the tape "confirms our evaluation of the terrorist threat against our country and others."
The GSPC group was created from a split in the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA), at the end of 1990s. It singled out France as its "enemy number one" last year and issued a call for action against the country.
In an online message on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Zawahiri called on the GSPC to target France , xinhuanet.com reports.
The GIA and other militant groups waged a decade-long campaign of violence, following the annulment in 1992 of elections which Islamic groups were poised to win.
An estimated 150,000 people are thought to have been killed in the violence.
Last year, the GSPC singled out France as its "enemy number one" and issued a call for action against the country, BBC reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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