– MOKHTAR BELMOKHTAR
* Mokhtar Belmokhtar (Khaled Abu al-Abbas), was born in the city of Ghardaya, Algeria, in the mid 60s’. He was an Algerian soldier and a veteran of the Afghan war against the Soviet Union. When the civil war in Algeria breached out in 01/1992 Mokhtar Belmokhtar joined the Armed Islamic Group –GIA. He became later a senior activist of Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat – GSPC.
In 01/2003 Mokhtar Belmokhtar disappeared from Algeria for two years. It is believed that he was in Mali. In 06/2003, there were reports that Algerian commandos and Malian security services had broken up a Belmokhtar-led attempt to attack the USA Embassy in Bamako with a truck bomb. On 10/24/2003 Mokhtar Belmokhtar was designated by the USA as a “Terror financier”.
After becoming a fugitive in Mali, Mokhtar Belmokhtar returned to southern Algeria to organize the southern command of the GSPC. He is suspected of leading, on 01/07/2005, an attack on a military convoy at Biskra that killed 13 Algerian soldiers and five civilians.
In 02/2006 the Algerian regime offered amnesty to Islamic militants still on the run as a part of a national reconciliation policy. Mokhtar Belmokhtar claimed that the immunity granted to the Algerian military for their role in the civil war as a reason to continue his Jihad.
In 06/2005, Mokhtar Belmokhtar led the Lemgheiti-Raid in Mauritania (near the Mali border) which killed 15 soldiers. The 150-man assault force apparently contained a large number of Mauritanians who were heard speaking Hassaniya, the Mauritanian dialect of Arabic. The attack accomplished little and was even condemned by Mauritania’s Islamist opposition.
An interview with Mokhtar Belmokhtar was posted in the web in sites affiliated to GSPC in 05/2006. He claimed, aside the usual staff against Americans and Jews, that there is a “heavy presence” of American forces in the coastal area and Algerian Sahara.
On 05/2008 Mokhtar Belmokhtar was operating, probably, in the border region between Algeria and Mauritania but his exact deeds or whereabouts are unknown to Algerian authorities but it was assumed he was cooperating and associated with MAGHREB al-Qaeda – AQIM.
According to the Mauritanian news agency, ANI, Al-Mulathamin brigade carried out, on Wednesday 01/16/2013, the In-Amenas Raid, in the Algerian Sahara, close to the Libyan border, and took 41 foreigners hostages, including seven Americans, Frenche, British, Dutch and other nationalities. They said the attack is related to the French Mali Campaign and is seeking immediate withdrawal of the French troops from Mali.
* Four days after claiming they killed Abdelhamid Abou Zeid – Chadian Army spokesman, on Sunday 03/03/2013, officially announced the killing of Mokhtar Belmokhtar by Chadian forces, on Saturday 03/02/2013, during an operation in the Ifogha mountains, near Kidal in North-Eastern Mali.
* Prosecutors in the USA have charged , on Friday 07/19/2013, Mokhtar Belmokhtar with participating in the In Amenas attack. He was charged in an eight-count complaint with conspiracy to provide material support to Al Qaeda, hostage-taking conspiracy, kidnapping of internationally protected persons and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, among other charges.
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