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Al Qaeda attacks Algerian leader over CIA sex case

world Updated: Feb 09, 2009 20:32 IST

Al Qaeda's north African wing accused Algeria's president on Monday of betraying his people in hosting a CIA station chief now accused of raping Muslim women and called for his removal.

The group, which has been seeking to destabilise the government through suicide bombings and attacks, said the case dealt a blow to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's plans to run for a third term in April polls.

"Is this scandal not an evidence that Bouteflika and his government is no different from his ... other brothers the traitor (Muslim) presidents?" the Al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb said in a statement on an Islamist website.

"Which extent do you (our nation) wish to see crime and fraud by this apostate ruling group reach before all would shout 'enough' in one voice?"

The U.S. State Department said in January Washington was looking into allegations the Algiers CIA station chief had raped at least two women after lacing their drinks with a drug.

U.S. network ABC News said the CIA officer was sent back to the United States after the women came forward with the charges in September.

It also reported that the discovery of more than a dozen videotapes showing the CIA officer engaged in sex acts with other women had led the Justice Department to widen the investigation to include Egypt, where the officer had been posted earlier in his career.

The Algerian government has set April 9 as the date for a presidential election which is likely to extend Bouteflika's rule in the North African OPEC member.

Government forces are still fighting al Qaeda militants although the country has regained a measure of stability in recent years after a costly civil war in the 1990s.