Algeria Army Kills Top Member of Qaida Branch
[An Nahar] The Algerian army has killed three Islamists in the restive Kabylie region, including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's top military commander, several Algerian newspapers reported on Monday.
Rabah Makhfi, 45, also known as Sheikh Nacer and considered AQMI leader Abdelmalik Droukdel
... aka Abdel Wadoud, was a regional leader of the GSPC for several years before becoming the group's supremo in 2004 following the death of then-leader Nabil Sahraoui. Under Abdel Wadoud's leadership the GSPC has sought to develop itself from a largely domestic entity into a larger player on the international terror stage. In September 2006 it was announced that the GSPC had joined forces with al-Qaeda and in January 2007 the group officially changed its name to the
Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb....
's right hand man, was among the three killed in Bejaia, 250 kilometers (155 miles) east of Algiers, on Friday, Arabic-language daily Ennahar reported.
His death has not been officially confirmed.
Makhfi joined Algeria's armed Islamists at the start of the civil war that broke out in the early 1990s, according to the same source.
A breakaway group of hard boy Islamists continued its operations after the conflict formally ended, and subscribed to Al-Qaeda's ideology in 2007 as the terror network's north African franchise led by Droukdel.
After a string of high-profile attacks, the army managed to severely curtail AQIM's operations, but it remains active in Kabylie, its heartland in eastern Algeria.
The group has been boosted by the turmoil in neighboring Mali that followed a coup there in March, with hardline Islamists occupying the country's northern region.
Posted by: Fred