|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|
|Mystery remains over Sirte airstrikes on IS|
|Pro tip: It's prolly the Brits.|
Could have been the Ruritanians...
Yesterday’s night raid by two aircraft is reported to have targeted buildings on the edge of the town, in the Al-Sabiha and Dahira districts. One site that was hit is said to have been a weapons store. A picture [above], purportedly taken some time today, shows black smoke billowing from a point which is hidden by other buildings.
Locals have said that they heard the sound of aircraft yesterday afternoon, which attracted ground fire from IS. Last Sunday, unidentified warplanes attacked a terrorist convoy, supposedly inflicting heavy casualties. Neither incident was reported by IS.
Warplanes from Egypt and the United States are known to have carried out raids in Libya. The UAE airforce was widely suspected of a series of airstrikes against Libya Dawn targets in September 2014.
In February last year, Egyptian aircraft attacked militants in Derna killing seven people, in response to the IS beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians on a Sirte beach.
Last November US warplanes killed IS terror leader Abu Nabil Al-Anbari in Derna. However, in June an American airstrike that obliterated a farm outside Ajdabiya apparently failed to kill the target, Algerian terrorist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
A few days later another precision raid on the IS headquarters in Sirte killed 16 people and injured dozens more. No one claimed responsibility for that strike.
|AQIM shares responsibility for Mali hotel killings|
|[AA.TR] The head of an al-Qaeda group has claimed joint responsibility for the Nov. 20 hotel attack in Bamako, Mali, which left 19 people dead.|
, leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, released a video late Friday sharing responsibility for the deadly attack with another group, al-Mourabitoun.
The leader of that group, Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar, pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda last May.
Friday's video also denied that the two organizations had pledged allegiance to , describing the group as their enemy.
Formed in 2013, al-Mourabitoun is active in northern Mali and Africa's .
|U.N. Staffer Killed in Mali Attack on Peacekeeping Convoy|
|[AnNahar] A U.N. employee was killed Tuesday in an attack on a peacekeeping convoy in northern Mali, Secretary General said.|
The attackers used explosives on the road from Goundam to Timbuktu where the vehicles from the U.N. MINUSMA force were traveling, he said.
Ban condemned the attack in which a civilian staff member was killed and said such actions "will not alter the determination of the to support the Malian people and the ."
The attack came just days after Islamist stormed a luxury hotel in Bamako, killing at least 20 people and taking hostages before Malian, French and U.S. troops moved in to end the siege.
Northern Mali fell under the control of Tuareg rebels and jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in mid-2012 before they were beaten back by a French-led operation in early 2013.
In June, the two main armed factions signed a peace deal to end the conflict in the north, but some splinter groups are opposing the agreement.
Two separate jihadist groups have for the assault on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on Friday: the Al-Murabitoun group, an Al-Qaeda affiliate led by notorious one-eyed Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar, and the Macina Liberation Front (LWF) from central Mali.
The United Nations has deployed some 10,200 peacekeepers in Mali to help restore order after the Islamist takeover in the north but the mission has come under repeated attacks.
|Mali gunmen were hunting for Air France staff at Radisson|
|The terrorists behind Friday's assault on a hotel in Mali were actively hunting for an Air France crew who were staying there, security guards who witnessed the attack have claimed.|
Kasim Haidara, who was on duty when the gunmen stormed the Radisson hotel in Bamako, told The Telegraph that they confronted a colleague and demanded to know which floor the Air France crew were staying on. The fellow guard deliberately directed them to the wrong floor, Mr Haidara said, for which he was later shot dead by the terrorists.
Mr Haidara's account would suggest that the group, who killed 19 people, was prioritising French citizens because of the country's two-year long military campaign against Islamists in northern Mali. It might also explain the Air France's decision to suspend its twice daily flights from Paris to Bamako shortly afterwards.
Speaking of the "shocking, frightening" attack, Mr Haidara, 28, said that his colleague, Moussa Tiema-Konate, had been on the fifth floor of the hotel at the time.
"When they got up there, the terrorists asked him: 'where are the staff of Air France?' He told them that they were on the seventh floor instead, and when they realised later that he had given them wrong information, they came back down and killed him."
Air France has not commented on whether its staff were deliberately targeted or not, although did not confirm that 12 crew - including two pilots - were safely evacuated.
Mr Haidara's claims emerged as a chef who worked in the hotel's kitchens said that one of the terrorists had calmly cooked himself a meal during the siege, which lasted nine hours. Ali Yazbeck, 30, who suffered a gunshot wound to the neck, told the New York Times that the gunman came into the kitchen, grilled some meat taken from a fridge, and then ate it before resuming combat.
Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by the Al-Murabitoun group, an Al-Qaeda affiliate led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed Algerian militant behind the 2013 Amenas gas refinery attack in Algeria that killed 40 hostages, including six Britons.
Reports that the Mali attackers spoke in English with a Nigerian accent have raised speculation that the Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram could also have been involved. However, security officials say they would have expected the group to have made a claim of responsibility by now.
Malian security forces say they are still hunting for "more than three" people who may have been involved in the attack, in which two of the gunmen were killed.
|Mali Hunting at Least three Suspects over Hotel Attack|
|[AnNahar] Investigators in Mali were on Saturday hunting at least three people suspected of links to the jihadist siege at a luxury hotel in the capital that left at least 19 people dead.|
The government has declared a state of emergency after the bloody nine-hour hostage-taking at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on Friday, exactly a week after the massacre.
A security cordon remained in place around the Radisson and security was also boosted around public buildings and banks and other hotels.
The Al-Murabitoun group, an al-Qaeda affiliate led by notorious one-eyed Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar, nicknamed the "Uncatchable" or "Mr Marlboro", claimed the attack.
Gunmen went on the rampage through the hotel from the early morning, shooting in the corridors and taking 170 guests and staff hostage, many of them foreigners.
The assault, which ended when Malian and international troops stormed the hotel, left 19 people dead as well as two attackers, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said.
The victims included several Russians, three Chinese, two Belgians, an American and a ese.
A Malian military source had said earlier there were at least 27 dead, while at least "three had been killed or blown themselves up."
Authorities are now "actively pursuing" at least three people over the attack in the former French colony, one security source told AFP.
In an audio recording broadcast by television, Belmokhtar's group , saying it had worked with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Belmokhtar, one of the world's most , was indeed "likely" the brains behind the assault.
The jihadist is also accused of spearheading an attack on an Algerian gas plant in 2013 in which around 40 hostages were killed, most of them Westerners.
has more than 1,000 troops in its former colony, a key battleground of the Barkhane counter-terror mission spanning five countries in Africa's restive .
|Islamists Kill Policeman in Mali|
|[AnNahar] Islamists from a group linked to a deadly hotel siege have attacked a police post in central Mali, killing an officer, military and local government sources said Sunday. |
"On Saturday, armed Islamists fired on three gendarmes in Bankass, at a security post," said a Malian army source in the regional capital Mopti, around 100 kilometers (60 miles) away, adding that one of the officers died.
Mahamane Cisse, a councilor in the Mopti region, said the "terrorists" were fighters for radical Islamic preacher Amadou Koufa's Macina Liberation Front.
Little is known about the group, but it was linked to a hostage drama at a hotel in nearby town of Sevare in August in which 13 people died, including five U.N. workers.
Cisse said the fighters in Saturday's attack moved on after killing the police officer to a nearby local government building.
"There, they set fire to two vehicles and the residence of the sub-prefect, who fortunately was not there," he added.
"It was the men of Amadou Koufa of the Macina Liberation Front that did it."
Koufa is close to Souleyman Mohammed Kennen, who for the Byblos hotel siege in a brief phone conversation soon after with AFP.
"The hand of Allah has guided the mujahedeen of Sevare against the enemies of Islam," Kennen said, adding that Koufa had given his "blessing" to the attack.
In 2012, Kennen was part of the Malian wing of fighters led by notorious Algerian jihadist commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a founding member of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), who now heads his own group.
Northern Mali was then under the control of jihadist movements linked to al-Qaeda and ethnic Tuareg rebel forces. The main towns in the desert territory were recaptured from the with the help of French and African troops in 2013.
Security forces in Mali have at least 10 suspects over the Byblos hotel siege, which began on August 7 and lasted almost 24 hours.
Four foreign employees of the U.N.'s peacekeeping mission in Mali were killed, along with a Malian civilian driver, four "terrorists" and four soldiers, according to the government.
Army reinforcements arrived in the Bankass area on Sunday "to protect people and look for terrorists," the military source said.
|Mali Hotel Attack Claimed by Fighters Linked to Belmokhtar|
|[AnNahar] A deadly hostage drama at a Mali hotel in which 13 people died -- including five U.N. workers -- was claimed Tuesday by fighters linked to the notorious one-eyed Algerian jihadi leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar.|
A radical associated with Malian Islamic leader Amadou Koufa said he gave his "blessing" for the attack on the Byblos Hotel in the central town of Sevare.
Koufa has ties to Belmokhtar -- known as "The Uncatchable" -- the former head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) who now leads his own Al-Murabitoun group.
"The hand of Allah has guided the mujahedeen of Sevare against the enemies of Islam," Souleyman Mohammed Kennen told an AFP in Bamako during a brief telephone interview.
The stand-off with the hostage-takers, which began early Friday, ended nearly 24 hours later when Malian troops stormed the hotel.
Souleyman claimed the group was also behind the killing of three Malian soldiers on Monday when their vehicle hit an improvised close to Diabozo, near Sevare. Four other troops were , the government said.
Jihadist attacks long concentrated in the north of Mali -- where linked to AQIM still exercise much control -- began spreading to the center of the country earlier this year, even as far south as the borders with Ivory Coast and in June.
The U.S. said it targeted Belmokhtar in an air strike in the Libyan desert the same month, but AQIM denied reports its former leader had been killed.
Investigators said Monday they found phone numbers and addresses on the bodies of the "terrorists" killed in the Sevare hotel which suggested they were affiliated with the Macina Liberation Front (FLM), a new Islamic group drawn from the Fulani people of central Mali.
"At this stage there is no formal proof that it was the Macina Liberation Front, but strong suspicions point to this group that has been seeking notoriety at all costs," she said.
But a regional security source told AFP there is "much coming and going between all these groups. In claiming responsibility for the Sevare attack, Souleyman is also speaking for the other jihadi groups," he said.
The FLM, which emerged earlier this year, has claimed a number of attacks, some targeting security forces in central Mali. It is considered linked to Ansar Dine -- Arabic for "defenders of the faith" -- one of the groups that took control of Mali's vast arid north in April 2012. Washington added Ansar Dine to its terror blacklist in 2013, accusing it of close ties to Al-Qaeda and of torturing and killing opponents in the north.
|NY Times: Top Tunisian 'Jihadist' Killed by US Strike in Libya|
|[ALMANAR.LB] A top Tunisian terrorist and associate of late Al-Qaeda leader was killed by a US in Libya last month, the reported.|
Seifallah Ben Hassine, Tunisia's most wanted Jihadist, who ed a campaign of s and terrorist attacks, including one against the United States Embassy in Tunis, was killed mid-June in an that targeted a top Al Qaeda-linked terrorist, the paper said.
Ben Hassine, also known as Abu Ayadh, is believed to have coordinated a string of s, including the killing of famed Afghan anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Masood in 2001.
He was one of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants and the leader of the outlawed group h in Tunisia. He had been based in Libya since 2013, according to reports, and ran training camps and a network of cells across the region.
Tunisian officials also accused Ben Hassine of directing the killings of two secular Tunisian politicians in 2013, the paper reported.
"His death, if confirmed, would be an important victory for Tunisia in its struggle to contain a persistent insurgency in its western border region and a growing threat to its urban centers," New York Times said.
Moreover, Tunisian station Radio Mosaique first reported Ben Hassine's death, which the US paper said it had confirmed with an official in Washington.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a confidential military assessment, said Ben Hassine died in a strike that targeted Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a top Al Qaeda-linked believed to have ed a deadly attack on an Algerian gas plant in 2013.
Libya's government reported at the time that Belmokhtar was killed in the attack but Al Qaeda's North Africa branch denied it.
Hassine had been on a blacklist since 2002 over his links to al-Qaeda. He was imprisoned in Tunisia in 2003 but released under an amnesty after the ouster of ex- in 2011.
He fought alongside Bin Laden in Afghanistan in 2001 before travelling to Pakistain and then where he was and extradited, the newspaper reported.
|Mokhtar not listed among dead from U.S. airstrike in Libya|
|[CTVNEWS.CA] Al Qaeda and other militants in Libya on Tuesday released a list of names of those they say were killed in a U.S. airstrike over the weekend that does not include the raid's main target, al Qaeda-linked commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar.|
The al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Shariah released a list of seven names of fighters and residents it said were killed in the "crusader American strike" in the eastern town of Ajdabiya.
A second statement from an umbrella group for militias called the Shura Council of Ajdabiya and its Surroundings also did not include Belmokhtar among the dead.
|Libyan Islamist says US strike missed al-Qaida-linked leader|
|[Ynet] The US military says it launched weekend s targeting and likely killing an al-Qaeda-linked leader in eastern Libya charged with leading the attack on a gas plant in Algeria in 2013 that killed at least 35 hostages, including three Americans.|
An Islamist with ties to Libyan s, however, said the s missed Mokhtar Belmokhtar, instead killing four members of a Libyan extremist group the US has linked to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
US officials said they are still assessing the results of the Saturday strike, but Pentagon Col. Steve Warren said the military believes the strike was successful and hit the target. Neither US officials nor the Libyan government provided proof of Belmokhtar's death, which likely requires a DNA test or an announcement by Belmokhtar's group that he was killed.
Intelligence officials say Belmokhtar essentially built a bridge between AQIM and the underworld, creating a system where various blends of outlaws now support each other and enroll local youth. He's been linked to terror attacks and the lucrative kidnapping of foreigners in the region.
The US filed terrorism charges in 2013 against Belmokhtar in connection with the Algeria attack. Officials have said they believe he remained a threat to US and Western interests. Belmokhtar had just split off from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to start his own franchise.
The Libyan government in a statement Sunday said that the strike targeting Belmokhtar came after consultation with the US so that America could take action against a terror leader there.
One government official in Libya said an in the northeastern coastal city of Ajdabiya hit a group of Islamic also believed linked to al-Qaeda and that it killed five and more. He said the group that was later fought the Libyan military that guarded the hospital there, leading to an hourslong battle. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to s. The official couldn't confirm that was the same strike that killed Belmokhtar.
The Islamist, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals in restive Libya, told The early Monday that Belmokhtar wasn't at the site of the US . He said the strike killed four Ansar Shariah members in Ajdabiya, some 850 kilometers east of the Libyan capital, American officials have linked Ansar Shariah to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.
|US Airstrike "likely" killed Mokhtar in Libya|
|The U.S military launched weekend airstrikes targeting and likely killing an al-Qaida-linked militant leader in eastern Libya who has been charged with leading the attack on a gas plant in Algeria in 2013 that killed at least 35 hostages, including three Americans.|
The Libyan government said warplanes targeted and killed Mokhtar Belmokhtar and several others in eastern Libya. A U.S. official said two F-15 fighter jets launched multiple 500-pound bombs in the attack. The official was not authorized to discuss the details of the attack publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
U.S. officials said they are still assessing the results of the Saturday strike, but Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said the military believes the strike was successful and hit the target. Neither U.S. officials nor the Libyan government provided proof of Belmokhtar's death, which likely requires a DNA test or an announcement by Belmokhtar's group that he was killed.
|Guard Wounded in Attack on U.N. Personnel in Mali's Capital|
The assailant attempted to set fire to one of the force's vehicles parked in front of the residence housing troops in the city's southeastern Faso Kanu neighborhood around 2:30 am (0230 GMT), the force said in a statement.
Before escaping, he shot and the guard and then opened fire on the building and parked U.N.-marked cars, the statement added.
"MINUSMA condemns in the strongest terms this attack against its staff and property, which constitutes a serious crime under international law," the mission said.
"It calls on the Malian authorities to make every effort to identify those responsible for this act and bring them to justice."
The statement said members of UNMAS, the mission's mine-clearing service, had been dispatched to defuse two un grenades found at the scene.
No one for the attack, but it comes at a time of strained relations between the government and the peacekeeping mission, which complained at the weekend that its impartiality was being "regularly called into question".
Reacting to criticism of the mission by Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the force lamented that "neither its contribution nor its sacrifices are accorded their proper value".
Keita's broadside came at the end of a speech by , read out in Bamako on Friday by the U.N.'s chief peacekeeper Herve Ladsous, lamenting serious violations of ceasefire agreements "on all sides".
"Have we ever violated the ceasefire? Never," Keita said.
"So then, Mr. Ladsous, it would be appropriate that the United Nations act justly and fairly in this regard," he said, calling for "a little respect for our people".
Yvan Guichaoua, a lecturer at the University of East Anglia in and an expert on the , tweeted in reaction to the attack that Keita's "anti-MINUSMA words last week don't look so wise retrospectively".
He added that, while he didn't think Keita's outburst was responsible for the attack, "continually and publicly running down MINUSMA doesn't help in calming the political climate".
With more than 40 peacekeepers killed since its inception in 2013, MINUSMA is considered the most dangerous U.N. mission in the world.
The country's restive north has been plagued by violence by jihadist groups that seized control of the region from Tuareg rebels before being routed by a French-led international intervention that began in 2013.
A struck a U.N. barracks in the town of Ansongo in April, killing two civilians and wounding nine peacekeepers from Niger in an attack claimed by Algerian jihadist commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar's militia.
Despite peaceful elections after the French operation, the country remains deeply divided and the north has seen an upsurge in attacks by pro-government militias and the Tuareg-led rebellion known as the CMA.
The government and several s signed a peace accord last week in a ceremony in Bamako attended by numerous heads of state but missing the crucial backing of the CMA.
The Algerian-led international mediation team in the said in a statement on Wednesday it was launching a series of consultations in Algiers to establish conditions for the "completion of the signing process".
The team has appointed a group of experts to set out a timetable for the implementation of the agreement, it said.