|Mokhtar Belmokhtar||Khalid Abu Al Abbès||Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat||Africa North||Algerian||At Large||20071112||Link|
|Alias of Mokhtar Belmokhtar|
|Mokhtar Belmokhtar||Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat||North Africa||Algerian||At Large||20030516|
|Belaouar||Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat||Africa: North||Algerian||At Large||20050613||Link|
|Alias of Mokhtar Belmokhtar|
|Mokhtar Belmokhtar||Salafist Group for Call and Combat||North Africa||20030605|
|Mokhtar Belmokhtar||Salafist Group for Preaching and Fighting||Africa: North||20040620||Link|
|French, Niger Troops Kill Combtants Holding Out at Base|
| French special forces and Niger troops shot dead on Friday the last two Islamists involved in a twin attack on a military base and a French uranium mine in Niger claimed by the mastermind of January's mass hostage-taking in Algeria.|
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a one-eyed veteran of al Qaeda's North African operations, said in a statement that his Mulathameen brigade organised Thursday's raids with the MUJWA militant group in retaliation for Niger's role in a French-led war on Islamists in Mali.
The coordinated dawn attacks killed 24 soldiers and one civilian and damaged machinery at Areva's (AREVA.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Somair mine in the remote town of Arlit, a key supplier of uranium to France's nuclear power program.
The attacks raised fears that Mali's conflict could spread to neighboring West African states and brought an Islamist threat closer to France's economic interests.
|Jihadist Belmokhtar "supervised" Niger bombings: spokesman|
|[AFP] Algerian commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar "supervised" twin suicide bombings that killed at least 20 people in Niger, the Mauritanian news agency Al-Akhbar reported.|
"It was Belmokhtar who himself supervised the operational plans of attacks" on the Agadez army base and a French-run uranium mine, El-Hassen Ould Khalil, spokesman for Belmokhtar's "Signatories in Blood" group, was quoted as saying.
He said the near-simultaneous bombings "targeted elite French forces" who were providing security at the uranium mine in northern Arlit that is majority-owned by France's Areva.
"More than 10 fighters took part in these attacks," the spokesman told the online press agency, adding that they were jointly led with the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.
MUJAO, one of the extremist groups that seized control of northern Mali last year before being driven out by French-led troops, had earlier claimed the bombings.
"Thanks to Allah, we have carried out two operations against the enemies of Islam in Niger," MUJAO spokesman Abu Walid Sahraoui told AFP.
The "Signatories in Blood" spokesman, who also goes by the alias "Julaibib," said the deadly operations were carried out in the name of top Al-Qaeda operative Abou Zeid, killed in fighting led by the French army in the Ifoghas mountains in northern Mali in late February.
Belmokhtar, a former leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, left that group late last year to create "Signatories in Blood."
|Mali Tuaregs say nine killed in battle with jihadists|
|[Al Ahram] Clashes in northern Mali between a Tuareg separatist group and jihadist fighters have left nine dead, Tuareg officials said Saturday.|
The fighting pitted Al Qaeda-linked Islamist groups against the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) -- a secular separatist Tuareg group that currently supports the government.
"After the fighting, we recorded four dead and two in our own ranks... There were five dead on their side," Mohamed Ibrahim Ag Assaleh, a top MNLA official based in neighbouring , told AFP.
Mossa Ag Attaher, an MNLA leader based in the northern Malian city of Kidal, added that one jihadist fighter was captured by his men.
The fighting lasted about two hours, they said, and took place on Friday between Gao and Kidal, two of the three main cities in northern Mali, which was under Islamist control for nine months until intervened in January.
According to the Tuareg officials, the five Islamist fighters included three Algerians, a Mauritanian and one Malian.
The two MNLA officials disagreed however on their opponents' affiliation.
One said they were from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa and the other said they belonged to "Signatories In Blood", a group recently founded by a former Al-Qaeda chief, Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
Many former Tuareg rebels who had worked as mercenaries in Libya returned to Mali bristling with weapons after Moamer Qadaffy's demise in late 2011 and rekindled their decades-old struggle for independence.
The MNLA launched a military offensive in January 2012 and conquered the entire north but was soon overpowered by its allies from the Al Qaeda-linked groups based in the region.
The secular Tuareg group has since sided with the Malian government and the French forces leading the reconquest. Its forces have engaged jihadist groups on several occasions in recent months.
No source among the jihadist networks being hunted down in northern Mali could be immediately reached to confirm Friday's .
|Qaida Replaces North Africa Chief Slain in Mali|
|[An Nahar] Al-Qaeda has named a replacement for Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, a key commander of its North African branch who was killed in fighting with French-led forces in northern Mali, Algerian TV reported on Sunday.|
The appointment of Djamel Okacha, a 34-year-old Algerian also known as Yahia Aboul Hammam, still has to be approved by a meeting of the leadership of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the head of Algeria's Ennahar TV, Mohamed Mokkedem, told Agence Presse.
Okacha is a close aide of AQIM chief and considered the "real leader" of the group, Mokkedem added.
Okacha takes charge of the group's operations in both southern Algeria and northern Mali, where it had seized a vast swathe of territory last year but is now facing a massive counter-offensive by French-led troops.
His predecessor Abou Zeid, 46, was credited with having significantly expanded the jihadist group's field of operation to Tunisia and Niger, and for kidnapping activities across the region.
confirmed on Saturday that Abou Zeid had been killed "during fighting led by the French army in the Ifoghas mountains in northern Mali in late February".
"The elimination of one of the main leaders of AQIM marks an important stage in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel," the office of French President said.
Okacha has had a meteoric rise in the group despite not having gone to Afghanistan as other key such as Mokhtar Belmokhtar did.
Belmokhtar, the one-eyed Islamist leader who ed an assault on an Algerian gas plant that left 37 foreign hostages dead in January, was reportedly killed by Chadian troops in Mali earlier this month.
Okacha spent around 18 months in prison in Algeria in the 1990s when the country was mired in Islamist violence.
As a member of feared organizations the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the (GPSC), which later became AQMI, he was active in northern Algeria, Mokeddem said.
Born in the northern town of Reghaia he was later condemned to death by a court in southern Algeria for acts of terrorism.
|Canadian’s body found in Algeria|
|The RCMP say Canadian remains have been found at the site of a blood-soaked January standoff in Algeria between terrorists and gas-plant workers.|
The news was the latest indication of possible Canadian involvement in the deadly assault.
But the Mounties refused to say Monday whether there was more than one body, or whether the remains were discovered among the al-Qaida-linked attackers or the hostages killed in the incident.
“The RCMP confirms that Canadian human remains have been identified in Algeria, however, as this is an ongoing investigation, no further information will be given at this time,” said Cpl. David Falls.
Neither the Foreign Affairs Department nor the minister’s office would comment.
However, Foreign Affairs has said previously that it believed no Canadians or dual nationals were among the hostages, and that a permanent resident of Canada who was at the site was safe and no longer in Algeria.
As a result, the latest development suggests a Canadian presence among the attackers — a militant group said to have been led by North African terrorist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who was also behind the 2008 kidnapping of Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler.
|France sees northeast Mali secure by end-March|
|[Al Ahram] "We are taking back this territory almost meter by meter. There will doubtless be other violent battles. Three weeks from now, if all goes as planned, we will have covered all of this territory," French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French media published on Monday.|
Le Drian said to Le Monde in an interview that while the results of DNA tests were still being awaited, it seemed likely that top al Qaeda leaders in the region had been killed in recent fighting and that it was now a matter of flushing out foot soldiers.
His view on the timetable was in line with France's goal to start winding down its eight-week-old military intervention in Mali in April and handing over to African forces.
Asked whether that meant the rebels' sanctuary around the Ifoghas mountains would be safe, even if some Islamist militants were still hiding out there, Le Drian said: "Overall security will have been restored in this space. I am not going to tell you that we are going to hunt them down to the last man."
Le Drian said on Friday at the end of a brief visit to Mali that French forces were now deep in the Islamists' stronghold in the remote valleys of northern Mali and had uncovered big caches of weapons stockpiled by the al-Qaeda-linked fighters.
Chad has said its soldiers killed al Qaeda's two top leaders in the region, Abdelhamid Abou Zeid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar. If true, that would be a major coup, but Le Drian cautioned that hundreds of lower level militants had been found in the area.
"We have clearly killed leaders and lower-level chiefs. Even if it still needs to be confirmed, it's likely that Abou Zeid is gone. That does not solve everything," he told Le Monde.
He said the fact that neighboring countries had shut their borders with Mali made it harder to hunt down fighters, including mercenaries, who had fled abroad.
|Exclusive report from jihadist stronghold in Mali|
|[FRANCE24] This is where the final phase of France's "Operation Serval", launched on January 11 against Islamist groups in Mali, is unfolding.|
It is also where two of the four French soldiers who have died over the course of the operation were killed, and where the French hostages taken by AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) were held.
And it is here that the Chadian army says it recently killed two of the main jihadist leaders, Abu Zeid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
A vast inferno of sand and stones situated between Kidal and Tessalit in the northeastern region of the country, the Adrar des Ifoghas mountain range is currently the principal combat zone where French and Chadian forces are facing off against Islamists. In cave after cave, "meter by meter", as French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian phrased it, soldiers are searching for Islamists tucked away in last-resort hiding places.
Matthieu Mabin, FRANCE 24's special correspondent in the region, was able to accompany French soldiers on their mission.
|AQIM brigade chief dead in Aguelhok|
|[MAGHAREBIA] The leader of a new al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) brigade was allegedly killed in northern Mali, ANSA reported on Thursday (March 7th).|
El Kairouani Abu Abdelhamid al-Kidali was reportedly eliminated by French and Chadian forces in Aguelhok, Sahara Media said.
The news followed reports of the deaths of al-Qaeda leader Abdelhamid Abou Zeid and his chief rival Mokhtar Belmokhtar. On Wednesday, Ansar al-Din leader Iyad Ag Ghaly was also rumoured dead.
On November 28th, AQIM announced the creation of the "Youssef ben Tachfine" brigade, led by al-Kidali. The new brigade is made up mainly of Touaregs.
|Al-Qaeda confirms Abou Zeid killed in Mali|
|[VANGUARDNGR] Al-Qaeda's branch in northern Africa on Monday confirmed that one of its s, Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, had been killed in northern Mali, a report said.|
Zeid was killed as a result of a French bombing raid in the Ifoghas mountains, a member of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) who normally writes for jihadist websites told the private Mauritanian news agency Sahara Medias.
He denied claims, however, that another Islamist leader in the region, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, had been killed, saying that Belmokhtar "is in the Gao region, waging the fight against he enemy."
|Inside smoking ruins of Mr Marlboro's lair|
|EVIL al-Qaeda warlord Mokhtar Belmokhtar -- known as Mr Marlboro for smuggling cigs to fund terrorism -- is believed to have died.|
|US Seeks to Confirm Report of Terror Leader's Death|
| American military and intelligence officials said Sunday they are attempting to confirm a report from the Chadian military of the death of al Qaeda leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the alleged mastermind of the deadly attack on an Algerian natural gas facility in January.|
If the new report is confirmed, Belmokhtar's death would be a significant victory against a growing al Qaeda threat in northern Africa.
Belmokhtar's killing was announced on Chadian national television by armed forces spokesperson Gen. Zacharia Gobongue, who said Chadian troops "operating in northern Mali completely destroyed a terrorist base."
"The [death] toll included several dead terrorists, including their leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar," he said.
Belmokhtar is known as Mr. Marlboro because of the millions he made smuggling cigarettes across the Sahara, but in the last few months the one-eyed terrorist leader has become one of the most sought after terrorists in the world. The attack on the plant near In Amenas in eastern Algeria left dozens of Westerns and at least three Americans dead
|Chad says soldiers in Mali kill al Qaeda's Belmokhtar|
|Chadian soldiers in Mali have killed Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the al Qaeda commander behind a bloody mass hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant in January, Chad's military said on Saturday.|
His death would be a major blow to Islamist rebels in northern Mali who have been pushed into their mountain strongholds by French and African forces.
"On Saturday, March 2, at noon, Chadian armed forces operating in northern Mali completely destroyed a terrorist base (...) The toll included several dead terrorists, including their leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar," Chadian armed forces spokesman General Zacharia Gobongue said in a statement read on national television.
Belmokhtar claimed responsibility for the seizure of dozens of foreign hostages at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria in January in which more than 60 people were killed.
The report of his death comes days after Chad's President Idriss Deby said soldiers in Mali had killed another leading al Qaeda commander in the Sahara, Adelhamid Abou Zeid.