Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Algeria Province

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Algeria Province (ISIL-AP; Arabic: الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام – ولاية الجزائر, ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām – Wilayah al-Jazā’er)[6] is a branch of the militant Islamist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), active in Algeria. The group was formerly known as Jund al-Khilafah fi Ard al-Jazair (Arabic: جند الخلافة في أرض الجزائر, meaning Soldiers of the Caliphate in the lands Algeria or Caliphate Soldiers of Algeria).[7]

Algeria Province
ولاية الجزائر (Wilayah al-Jazair)
Participant in the War on Terror, and
the Insurgency in the Maghreb (2002–present)
Active14 September 2014[1][2][3] – Present
Salafi jihadism
LeadersAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi (2014-2019)  (Leader of ISIL)
Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi (2019-present) (Leader of ISIL)
Abdelmalek Gouri (governor/wali) [1][4]
Area of operationsAlgeria
SizeFewer than 30 (Dec. 2014)[5]
Part of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Opponent(s) Algeria
 Western Sahara

After kidnapping a 55-year-old French mountaineering guide, Hervé Gourdel, the group stated in a video on 22 September 2014, that the kidnapping was a fulfilling of an order of ISIL spokesman al-'Adnani to attack citizens of countries fighting with the U.S. against ISIL.[8] On 24 September 2014, Wilayah al-Jazair claimed to have beheaded Hervé Gourdel.[8][9][10]

It is listed as a terror group by the UK,[11] as well as by the US under the name Jund al-Khilafah (JAK-A).[12]


Under Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

Wilayah al-Jazair was previously a faction of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Al Qaeda affiliate in North and West Africa.[13] AQIM grew out of Algerian Islamist groups that had fought in the 1990s Civil War.[13] Abdelmalek Gouri (who would later lead Jund al-Khilafah) was formerly the "right-hand man" of Abdelmalek Droukdel, who was the leader of AQIM. Gouri was also part of an AQIM cell responsible for suicide attacks on the government's headquarters and the UN compound in Algiers in 2007. He was also behind an attack in Iboudrarene in April 2014 that left 11 Algerian soldiers dead.[13]

As Jund al-Khilafah

On 14 September 2014, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the central region, Khaled Abu Suleiman (nom de guerre of Abdelmalek Gouri), announced in a communique he was breaking allegiance with Al-Qaeda and took an oath of allegiance to the leader of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He was reportedly joined by an AQIM commander of an eastern region of Algeria. He claimed that other members of AQIM had "deviated from the right path" and declared to al-Baghdadi "You have in the Islamic Maghreb men who will obey your orders."[14]

As Wilayah al-Jazair

On 13 November 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced that the group had changed its name to "Wilayah al-Jazair" in accordance to the structure of the rest of groups aligned with ISIL.[6][15] In December 2014, Gouri was killed by Algerian security forces.[4] In May 2015, over 20 members of the group, including commanders, were killed in a military raid.[16][17] The group was devastated by the raids, and turned its focus to propaganda while attempting to rebuild. Although it advertised the pledges of allegiance of several AQIM splinter factions during 2015, none of the groups involved are believed to be large, and the group did not claim responsibility for any attacks in the year following the kidnapping and killing of Gourdel.[17]


  • April 2014: Jund al-Khilafah ambushes Algerian army convoy in Iboudrarene, killing 11 Algerian soldiers and wounding 5.
  • 14 September 2014: Jund al-Khilafah leader Khaled Abu-Suleiman announces the group's split from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and pledges allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
  • 21 September 2014: Hervé Gourdel is abducted by Jund al-Khilafah in the Djurdjura National Park in Algeria.
  • 22 September 2014: Jund al-Khilafah releases a video showing Hervé Gourdel being held captive. The group stated that the kidnapping was in response to France conducting Airstrikes against "Islamic State" and threatened to behead him if France continued to carry out airstrikes against ISIL.
  • 24 September 2014: The group releases a video purporting to show the beheading of Hervé Gourdel. The militants shown stated that the beheading was in response to the order of ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, in which he called on followers to attack citizens of member nations of the anti-ISIL coalition.
  • October 2014: One of the Jund al-Khilafah militants responsible for the beheading of Hervé Gourdel was killed in an Algerian military operation in October.[18]
  • 11 December 2014: The Algerian justice ministry states that Algerian soldiers had killed two Wilayah al-Jazair members believed to have been involved in the murder of Hervé Gourdel.[13]
  • 20 December 2014: Algerian soldiers kill three Wilayah al-Jazair members in the mountains near Sidi Daoud.[13]
  • 22 December 2014: Wilayah al-Jazair leader Abdelmalek Gouri and two other militants were killed by the Algerian army in a military operation in Issers. Afterwards, troops recovered two automatic rifles, explosive belts, and a large amount of ammunition and mobile phones.[13]
  • 28 April 2015: The Algerian military killed five Wilayah al-Jazair militants in an ambush in the region of Tizi Ouzou, east of Algiers.[19]
  • 20 May 2015: Algerian security forces ambushed a Wilayah al-Jazair meeting east of Algiers, killing at least 21 fighters and capturing two others.[16]
  • 20 February 2016: Wilayah al-Jazair claimed to have killed three Algerian soldiers in Mount Shakshut in Bouira in late February. This claim was denied by the Algerian government.[20]


  1. "Algeria's al-Qaeda defectors join IS group". Al Jazeera English. 14 September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  2. Zelin, Aaron Y. (14 November 2014). "ISIS Has Declared The Creation Of Provinces In Several Arab Countries". Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  3. Zelin, Aaron Y. (14 November 2014). "The Islamic State's Archipelago of Provinces". Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  4. Deaton, Jennifer Z.; Hanna, Jason (23 December 2014). "Algeria: Leader of group that beheaded French hiker is killed". CNN. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  5. "Algerian Army Kills Militant Leader Linked to Beheading of French Hostage". The New York Times. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2015. According to several sources, it included fewer than 30 fighters and never had enough time to structure itself as a viable force on the field
  6. Zelin, Aaron Y. (28 January 2015). "The Islamic State's model". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  7. "Hollande blasts 'cowardly' murder of French hostage in Algeria". France24. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  8. "Jund al-Khilafah in Algeria Beheads French Hostage in Video". SITE Intelligence Group. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  9. "Algerian extremists behead French hostage". Associated Press. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  10. "IS-linked terror group Jund al-Khilafah behead French hostage Herve Gourdel, who was kidnapped in Algeria on Sunday". News Corp Australia. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  12. "Individuals and Entities Designated by the State Department Under E.O. 13224". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  13. "Algerian army 'kills top jihadist'". BBC News. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  14. Chikhi, Lamine (14 September 2014). "Splinter group breaks from al Qaeda in North Africa". Reuters. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  15. Beirut bureau; Hashem, Mostafa (13 November 2014). MacSwan, Angus; Storey, David; McCool, Grant (eds.). "Islamic State leader urges attacks in Saudi Arabia: speech". Reuters. The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. Retrieved 3 July 2019. We announce to you the expansion of the Islamic State to new countries, to the countries of the Haramayn, Yemen, Egypt, Libya [and] Algeria}}
  16. "Algerian forces kill '21 ISIL-linked fighters'". Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera Media Network. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  17. Barr, Nathaniel (13 November 2015). "If at First You Don't Succeed, Try Deception: The Islamic State's Expansion Efforts in Algeria". Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  18. "Algerian army kills suspect in beheading of Frenchman Hervé Gourdel". France 24. 26 October 2014. Archived from the original on 1 July 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  19. Chikhi, Lamine (28 April 2015). Evans, Dominic (ed.). "Algerian army kills five militants: ministry". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  20. Weiss, Caleb (21 February 2016). "Islamic State claims killing Algerian soldiers". The Long War Journal. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
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