In an audiotape message aired by Aljazeera Monday, the former leader of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) urged al Qaeda operatives to repent and reintegrate into society, describing their actions as illegitimate according to Islamic law. Hassan Hattab, who was the leader of the group before it merged with al Qaeda and changed its name to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, fell out with the GIA back in 1998 over the issue of targeting civilians.
"I invite you to refrain from what you are currently involved in. I urge you to lay down your arms and return to your families. Society is prepared to embrace you and heal your wounds," he said in the audio statement.