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Police Threat Assessment Dec '02: Ahmed El Zaoui


The following is the NZ police threat assessment written in December 2002 on the arrival of Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui in New Zealand. It was released to under the Official Information Act.

This threat assessment has today come back to the fore as a result of complaints by Progressive MP Matt Robson (See… Zaoui: Police error shows need for review). Mr Robson's complains relate to the description last Monday by the NZ Government of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), as a terrorist entity with ties to Al Qaeda.

This morning the PM was reported as saying that the police were wrong in so describing the FIS, the organisation to which Ahmed Zaoui belongs.

– Scoop Co-Editor Alastair Thompson




Threat Assessment Unit

Subject: Ahmed El Zaoui
Date: 11 December 2002



On the 4 December 2002 the above subject entered New Zealand. As a result of enquiries by Customs, Police and Immigration it was established that he was wanted on an international warrant relating to terrorism.

As a result El Zaoui was arrested and incarcerated at Papkura Police station where he has remained. He appeared in the Papakura District Court and has subsequently been remanded in custody under immigration processes for 28 days.


El Zaoui is considered to be a senior member of GIA which is a terrorist group originating from Algeria.

This group historically has been involved in several violent acts in furtherance of their cause (refer website

EL ZAOUI although associated to this group has not been held directly responsible for any terrorist acts.


El Zaoui is not seen by New Zealand authority as posing a physically risk to personal who may be involved in his incarceration.

It should be noted that his association to the GIA makes him a target of some government organisations within Algeria and also there is a potential risk he may attempt to make contact with other members of the GIA.

There is also a risk of him trying to instigate relationships in New Zealand to assist him in gaining legal residential status in New Zealand.

There is also a Political risk that he will try to gain some support by utilizing the media.


To date there has been a total media blanket in relation to this individual. This is to continue and any media interest in this matter should be referred to assistant Commissioner Jon white at the Office of the Commissioner.

Police Requirements

Police request that the following actions be taken by Corrections

1. Monitor and record all phone details of all visitors to El Zaoui;
2. Monitor and record all phone calls to and from El Zaoui;
3. Search all visitors to El Zaoui;
4. Keep El Zaoui isolated from other prisoners to avoid potential violent reaction for his safety.

Prepared by

Name: D. B Potaka
Rank: Detective Sergeant 5972

Authorised for Distribution

Detective Inspector


Assistant Commissioner Jon White
National Crime Manager
O/C: CIS/TAU, Auckland
Mr Wayne Le Harve Crime prevention Officer Paremeremo


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