PARIS, Jan 27: Mohamed Sifaoui, an Algerian journalist who claims to have infiltrated one of France’s most important extremist networks, has just published a book detailing how he did it, and has also taken to the airwaves to promote his feat, which has just led to the incarceration of several alleged French Al Qaeda kingpins.
The publication — My ‘Brothers’ in Assassination. How I infiltrated an Al Qaeda network — coincides with the decision by a French tribunal to charge a supposedly prominent member of French Al Qaeda, Karim Bourti, with “association de malfaiteurs,” i.e., association of wrong-doers, a rather euphemistic catch-all categorization that has usually in the past been used to justify the rounding up of alleged French mafiosi.
According to Mr Sifaoui, the point of departure for his book goes back many years ago to Algiers where he and Karim Bourti attended the same high school.
“I decided then,” notes Sifaoui, “to introduce myself as being a sympathizer of Al Qaeda, and was surprised to see how easily they believed me. It’s then, after a month and a half of initial contacts, that I began to learn how Bourti and his confederates had been to Afghanistan, and had indeed prepared an attack on the Stade de France for the 1998 World Football Cup (won by France), this under the direction of Omar Saiki.”