Qaeda's Maghreb propaganda man surrenders - paper

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ALGIERS, Nov 5 (Reuters) Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's ''propaganda'' man in charge of supplying Al Jazeera with videos and online documentation has surrendered, saying he regreted what he had been doing, Algerian daily Liberte said today.

The daily, quoting unnamed security sources, said Abu Abderahmane had used the Internet to communicate with the Qatar-based channel, as well as sending it videos, and CDs either directly to Doha or its Morocco branch.

''I felt guilty, and I regret what I was doing,'' Abu Abderahmane was quoted as saying by unnamed security sources in Algiers.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb grew out of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) in January after winning approval from Osama bin Laden to rename itself an al Qaeda affiliate.

Since then the Islamists have launched a wave of deadly attacks targeting Algerian security and Western interests.

Analysts say the use of suicide bombers, more lethal bomb-making technology, fund-raising from criminal rackets and a sophisticated Web-based publicity machine have helped the rebels stay active.

Sixty people were killed last month, bringing to 429 the number of people who have died in clashes between government forces and Islamic militants this year.

Most of the killings in October took place in eastern provinces where the army and security forces launched a counter-offensive on al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb after a failed assassination attempt on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in September in Batna town east of Algiers.

The conflict erupted early in the 1992 after the military-backed government, fearing an Iranian style revolution, scrapped legislative elections that a radical Islamic party was poised to win.

The bloodshed has subsided sharply in recent years from the 1990s peak, but picked up again this year after militants affiliated with al Qaeda.

REUTERS PD ND1640

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