Would you like to make English your default language on this site?


Al-Qaeda confirms Belhadj death

By Nazim Fethi for Magharebia in Algiers – 03/08/11

  • 13

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) on Monday (August 1st) released a video confirming that the son of former Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) leader Ali Belhadj was among those killed in a failed terrorist attack in Thenia last week.

In a video posted on jihadist websites, al-Qaeda said that "Mouaaouiya", a pseudonym for Abdelkahar Belhadj, was among those killed at a military checkpoint in Thenia on July 25th. The terror network claimed the jihadist "blew himself up" rather than being killed by security forces, as reported in some newspapers. The AQIM statement added that Abdelkahar was a key figure in the organisation because he had "encouraged young people to wage jihad".

The admission put an end to uncertainty created by the terrorist's father and relatives, who had refused to believe the news until the body of the 23-year-old was returned to them. On Friday at a mosque in Kouba, Belhadj reiterated his call for the authorities to tell him "the truth as to whether my son has died, to release the body so that I can bury him, and if he is not dead, I ask that they stop this campaign, which is upsetting my whole family".

The day after al-Qaeda's statement, Ali Belhadj maintained his position. On Tuesday, he went to his local police station for confirmation.

"The security services told me that they would keep me informed if my son's death was confirmed," Belhadj told journalists. Despite the AQIM confirmation, the former FIS leader did not believe the news. "I won't believe the reports or information in the press until I see my son's body," he said.

Belhadj's son died along with two associates in a vehicle that was supposed to take them to Algiers so that they could carry out a "spectacular" attack just before the beginning of Ramadan. However, the security services foiled the attack thanks to one of the three would-be bombers, who informed his family of their plans and his intention to surrender to security officers.

Government forces then set up a roadblock to intercept the vehicle when it reached the town of Thenia, less than 40km east of Algiers. Having refused to stop at the roadblock, the two other suicide bombers decided to blow themselves up.

Belhadj's son joined the terrorist organisation in September, 2006. For several months, his father accused the authorities of kidnapping his son until he obtained hard evidence of what had happened: a video showing his son with the terrorist group. Abdelkahar had been placed in the Al-Andalous propaganda group and was close to the leader of AQIM, Abdelmalek Droukdel, who hoped to benefit from his father's high profile.

Ali Belhadj himself never condemned the use of violence by terrorist groups. While imprisoned in 1994, he sent a letter to then-leader of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), Cherif Gousmi, to tell him that if he were a free man, he would be one of his soldiers.

To date, the Algerian government has not issued any official statement on Abdelkahar's death. In online discussion forums used by young people, however, most contributors accused the former FIS official of playing a part in the tragedy that befell Algeria.

"More than two hundred thousand people have died because of you and you dare to come and whine about your terrorist son?" one commenter posted.

In the same forum, another commentator criticised Ali Belhadj for the fact he "never condemned terrorism; quite the reverse".

What do you think of this article?


Subscribe to our newsletter and get Magharebia's latest articles delivered to your inbox.


Anonymous thumb

You are not signed in. Anonymous comments are subject to moderation. Sign up to have your comment posted immediately - Learn more

Or post your comment using:


  1. Anonymous thumb

    Jaja 2015-1-22

    Belhadj has been made the scapegoat of Algerians in the dark 90s when the most responsible ones for the chaos got away with no charges at all. It will always be the story of the strong that will be the official one.


  2. Anonymous thumb

    mohamed 2014-5-15

    I think that the current Algerian government is more responsible for the 200,000 deaths than Ali Belhadj. The Algerian security services were the ones that started shooting at the FIS people and imprisoning them before any Islamists did anything. They were only defending themselves. That's not me saying that; it's history. Look at what exactly happened in 1991. They stopped the election because the country was under threat. But by whom? They were Algerians like you and me who won the elections. But the generals who are still governing us were afraid of losing their seat at the dinner table. So don't be naive and speak nonsense.


  3. Anonymous thumb

    toufik24 2012-10-5

    This is a dog who shouldn’t be buried in the cemeteries of Muslims.


  4. Anonymous thumb

    Anonymous 2012-10-5

    The dog is dead. That’s all.


  5. Anonymous thumb

    hmadhhayzoun 2011-8-14

    You would think we are in the Middle Ages with words like “jihad” and “Al-Qaeda” even though the entire world is living in the age of globalisation and personal freedoms and the Internet. The Muslim states must adapt to the current modernism and to the sharing of knowledge and wealth, which is a precondition to their survival.


  6. Anonymous thumb

    HENNAB 2011-8-12

    If the FIS was created, then it is thanks to the system to counteract the Berber movement. The latter is just because it represents all the Algerians who are Berbers! Who are these Berbers that we are? The Tuareg in the South; the Chaoui in the East; the Cheleuh in Tlemcen; the Beni Sirda in Ghazaout; the Chenoua in Cherchell, not to be confused with the Chenaoua in Mc Algiers, whom I salute; the Mouzabite of Ghardaia; and the Kabyle in the East, West, North and South. Everyone is Berber! Thanks to everyone in this beautiful world who reads this text! As for Belhadj and his son, he is a terrorist who had a terrorist.


  7. Anonymous thumb

    djamel 2011-8-12

    We were hoping that the person of Ali Belhadj would be defeated. He and his acolyte Abassi Madani were the ones behind the evils of Algeria. They should have been brought before the International Criminal Court. Regarding the thug Ali Belhadj, 20 years ago he pushed young people into the underground, but as soon as his son joined them, he appealed to the army to not attack them. He said that they were young people who did not understand their actions. Poor thug, it is so hard to lose a son or a daughter or a wife. That is what you did to all the children of Algeria all these years. Be a man and ask to be sent before the ICC. Have the courage for once in your life in the memory of those who believed in you and your son and, most importantly, Algeria. The Algerian Republic is ashamed of you.


  8. Anonymous thumb

    hichem 2011-8-10

    Long live Algeria!


  9. Anonymous thumb

    Yidir 2011-8-6

    Those who live by the sword, will perish by the sword!


  10. Anonymous thumb

    lassaker redouane 2011-8-5

    One! Two! Three! Long live Algeria!


  11. Anonymous thumb

    Algerien 2011-8-4

    Thank God that this terrorist is dead. I ask Allah that his father follow him in the coming months. These bastards have no place in the world. Ali Belhadj is just a bit disgusting and a terrorist. He and the other bloodthirsty people are the ones who set Algeria and the Maghreb ablaze. They are the worst people in the world. We pray to God that Ali Belhadj and Droukdel die as soon as possible so that the Algerians and the other peoples of the Maghreb may live in peace. The biggest terrorists in the world are Ali Belhadje and the heads of the GIA and GSPC. There are not truly Muslims. A Muslim does not kill innocents. But these bastards know neither mercy, not compassion. And Allah comes last with these people. O God, please take these terrorist pigs. I am quite content with the death of these terrorists.


  12. Anonymous thumb

    El Hadi 2011-8-4

    Whatever. Shame has nothing to do with politics. If this good man, Ali Belhadj, was tactless at most. We can forgive him if need be and there is nothing really to stir things up about. Imam Ali said, “I swear by the Highest that there are people who will be ashamed when Judgement Day comes and their sins will be exposed before Allah, the Highest.” Unfortunately, the sins of Ali Belhadj have been many in his life. What is there to say before God Almighty? Thousands of people died through the fault of this fanatic and as such, the Algerian state either forgave him by complacency or out of necessity for social peace. When someone thinks they possess divine knowledge, they can do anything. Most of those who voted for the FIS party were egged along by hardly ideological motivations; they were concerned with their livelihood, local considerations and calculations of their interests. Thousands of people died because of him. Millions of lives were ruined. And others were … If madness offers us men like Ali Belhadj, then …


  13. Anonymous thumb

    assad 2011-8-3

    This is the father who encouraged his son to go do Jihad. He got only what he deserved. The father, who encouraged thousands of young people to climb up in mountains, now only has his tongue left to lambast the Algerians. He did not know that before them, the Algerians had climbed their own mountains to get rid of the great power that is France.


Anonymous thumb

You are not signed in. Anonymous comments are subject to moderation. Sign up to have your comment posted immediately - Learn more

Or post your comment using: