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November 6, 2011 11:11 AM

How big a threat is Al Qaida's North Africa branch?

An Algerian Islamist rebel group that in 2007 rebranded itself as al Qaida's affiliate in North Africa, dubbed al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has accomplished a notable feat, moving its operations from Algeria across the Sahara, the transcontinental desert that throughout history has halted empires in their tracks and for millennia kept black Africa separated from Eurasia.

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