Al-Qaeda leader behind Algeria gas plant hostage massacre killed in Mali – Chadian army

Mokhtar Belmokhtar was killed during an assault on an Islamistrebel base on Saturday, Chad’s military have reported.“The Chadian forces in Mali completely destroyed the mainjihadist base in Adrar of the Ifoghas mountains,” an armystatement said, adding that the death toll included “severaldead terrorists, including their leader MokhtarBelmokhtar.”West Africa and Chad sent some 1,000 soldiers to Mali in Januaryto help the French effort to drive Al-Qaeda linked forces out ofthe northern part of the country, which was seized following a coupin Mali in March last year.The purported killing of Belmoktar comes a day after Chad’spresident announced that another senior regional commander ofal-Qaeda, Abou Zeid, had been eliminated by French and Chadianforces.French officials so far have not confirmed the killing of eitherAbou Zeid or Belmokhtar. On Friday, French president FrancoisHollande said that terrorist groups in Mali have taken refuge“in an especially difficult zone” but refused to confirmprogress until “the end of the operation” is reached.Although several diplomats, including a US official, describedthe earlier report about Abou Zeid death as “very credible,”radical Islamist sources have not yet confirmed the killing of anytheir senior commanders.A French university professor and al-Qaeda specialist, MatthieuGuidere, told AFP that the absence of any confirmation fromjihadists could mean the reports are not true as they “never tryto hide their dead and immediately broadcast theirmartyrdom.”The hostage crisis at an In Amenas gas plant in Algeria resultedin the deaths of 37 foreign hostages of eight nationalities anddozens of terrorists.On 16 January 2013, an al-Qaeda-linked group believed to be ledby Mokhtar Belmokhtar captured a total of some 800 workers and keptthe foreign hostages at the Tigantourine gas facility, releasingthe Algerians.The Islamist ‘Mulathameen Brigade’ claimed responsibility forthe hostage crisis saying it had conducted the raid in retaliationfor France’s engagement in the Mali crisis. The militants allegedlydemanded the release of two terrorists held in the US in return forthe hostages.Twenty-nine militants were killed and three captured whenAlgerian Special Forces stormed the facility after thefour-day-long standoff. The hostage takers included nationals fromEgypt, Canada, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, and Tunisia, who allegedlycrossed into the country from neighboring Libya.

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Al-Qaeda leader behind Algeria gas plant hostage massacre killed in Mali – Chadian army


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