- The Washington Times - Monday, March 1, 2010

U.S. defense and counterterrorism officials say al Qaeda’s terror network in North Africa is growing more active and attracting recruits.

The North African faction is still small and largely isolated, numbering a couple hundred militants based mostly in the vast desert of northern Mali. But signs of stepped-up activity and the group’s advancing potential for growth worry analysts familiar with the region.

The rise of the al Qaeda group in Yemen, which spawned the Christmas airliner attack, is seen by U.S. officials and counterterrorism analysts as evidence that the North African militants could just as quickly take on a broader jihadi mission and become a serious threat to the U.S. and European allies.

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