WASHINGTON (AFP) - The leader of an Algerian-based offshoot of Al-Qaeda warned in an interview published Tuesday that his group "will not hesitate" to target US interests across the world. Abdelmalek Droukdal, leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, gave what is thought to be his first interview with a Western journalist to the New York Times, replying via a cassette recording to the Paper's written questions. "If the US administration sees that its war against the Muslims is legitimate, then what makes us believe that our war on its territories is not legitimate?" he said when asked if his group would target US interests. "Everyone must know that we will not hesitate in targeting it whenever we can and wherever it is on this planet." Droukdal's organisation was known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) before it affiliated itself to Osama bin Laden's group in 2006, a move he said was "our duty" so that "we can have our fight under one flag."  The 38-year-old explained his anger and desire for vengeance against the United States, saying: "We found ourselves on the black list of the US administration, tagged with terrorism. "Then we found America building military bases in the south of our country and conducting military exercises, and plundering our oil and planning to get our gas... So did America leave us any choice with this flagrant aggression? No doubt that the answer is going to be no." Questioned about the murder of four French tourists in Mauritania in December, he replied: "The brothers implementing the process are connected with us, and we have previously trained some of them, and we offer them adequate support for the implementation of such operations." The Times quoted US military officials as saying that Droukdal's group has between 300 and 400 fighters in the mountains east of Algiers, with another 200 scattered across the rest of the country.