The Algerian Republican Guard is seen in front of the Presidential Palace in Algiers October 16, 2014. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina
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Algeria's security services have been rocked by the arrest of the anti-terrorism chief and sackings of top officials in recent weeks, as a behind-the-scenes power struggle intensifies.Experts say Bouteflika and his allies – especially powerful army chief of staff Ahmed Gaid Salah – are consolidating power ahead of a potential succession battle.The latest move came with the unprecedented arrest on Aug. 27 of Abdel-Kader Ait-Ouarab, also known as Gen. Hasan, who served for two decades as Algeria's anti-terrorism chief.Until 2014, the general had led an elite unit under the DRS that had carried out special operations – including a 2013 assault on the In Amenas gas plant after it was seized by extremists in a crisis that left 38 hostages dead.Newspaper El Watan described Gen. Hasan, a close ally of state intelligence chief Mediene, as "collateral damage" in the struggle between the presidency and DRS.
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