Algerian Islamist leader buried in front of thousands
ALGIERS - Abassi Madani, founder of Algeria's banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), was buried Saturday in Algiers in front of thousands of supporters after his death in Qatar where he had long lived in exile.
Madani's body was carried from his family home to Ennadi mosque, where believers recited the Islamic funeral prayer, ahead of his transportation to a cemetery.
Cries of "God is greatest" and slogans used by the FIS in the 1990s rang out.
Mourners had gathered well in advance of the arrival of the remains of Madani, who called for armed struggle in 1992 after Algeria's military scrapped the country's first multi-party parliamentary election.
The FIS won that election, and pushed for the creation of an Islamic state in the North African nation.
He died in a Doha hospital on Wednesday from a "long illness" at the age of 88, FIS co-founder Ali Belhadj said.
The FIS had been on track to win an absolute majority in the 1991-92 parliamentary election when the army cancelled the second round, triggering a decade of civil war that left 200,000 dead, according to official figures.
Madani had been living in Qatar since 2003. He had fled into exile after serving a 12-year prison sentence in Algeria for charges that predated the election.
For many Algerians, Madani remained most associated with the bloodletting during the civil war that pitted the security forces against sometimes feuding Islamist armed groups.
He was imprisoned in 1991 and only called for an end to the violence in 1999, when his group said it was laying down its arms.