New leader named for Algerian Islamic Salvation Front
Algeria's outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) has elected Mourad Dhina, one if its Geneva-based leaders, as head of its national executive office, the Swiss news agency ATS reported Sunday.
Dhina became "interim head of the party's executive since the historical leaders of the FIS - Abassi Madani and Ali Belhadj - are currently in jail," the agency quoted him as saying.
The FIS, banned in Algeria since the year 1992, wants to create an Islamic state in that country. The decision to select a new leadership was taken during an FIS congress, held secretly in Belgium in August, which disbanded other organizations claiming to speak for the FIS.
Asked about alleged FIS ties with the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in Algeria, Dhina said the FIS backed groups, which did not attack civilians and were "ready to law down their arms if there is a political solution to the crisis."
A physicist by training, Dhina was implicated in an operation smuggling weapons from Switzerland to Algeria, but never convicted, ATS added. A request he made for political asylum was rejected by Swiss authorities in 1996, however his presence in Switzerland has been tolerated, and he has been working as a technical consultant. (Albawaba.com)
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