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Terrorism 2013-01-22

'Multi-national group' behind Algeria attack

By Walid Ramzi for Magharebia in Algiers – 22/01/13

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At least 37 foreigners and one Algerian hostage were killed during the terrorist takeover of a gas facility in the Algerian desert, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal revealed Monday (January 21st).

Twenty-nine terrorists were also killed by Algerian security forces during their operation to free the captives held at the In Anemas gas complex, Sellal said. Speaking to reporters Monday evening, the premier added that three militants were captured.

The assailants included 11 Tunisians, three Algerians, two Nigeriens, a Canadian, and others from Egypt, Mali, and Mauritania.

Most of the militants came from Mali, AFP quoted Sellal as saying. The terrorists crossed through Niger before allegedly entering Algeria from Libya. Sellal added that the group's leader was Mohamed el-Amine Bencheneb, an Algerian militant known to the country's security services, who was killed in the siege.

Algerian Special Forces managed to free 685 Algerian and 107 foreign hostages during the rescue mission.

Sellal also revealed that a Canadian of Arab origin by the name of "Shaddad" communicated with the kidnappers during the siege via the internet in Mauritania.

Algerian Communication Minister Mohamed Said said that his country was the target of a multi-national crime carried out by a group comprising of terrorists from various nationalities with a three-fold goal: to undermine Algeria's security and stability, target Algerians' source of income by hitting the country's oil sector and drag Algeria into the war in Mali.

Said added that these groups want to subjugate Algeria, one of the countries that remained stable in the face of unrest in neighbouring countries.

El Moulethemine Brigade ("The Masked Brigade") leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar claimed credit for the attack in a video released January 17th. Belmokhtar created the "Singed-In Blood Brigade" after splitting from al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and declaring his allegiance to the parent al-Qaeda organisation.

Experts say Belmokhtar, also known as Khaled Abou El Abass or Laaouar, has compiled fighters from different nationalities, especially Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans, as well as Malians, taking advantage of instability in the Arab Spring region. He has tried to give his new branch a "multi-national" dimension in the face of the global counter-terrorism alliance.

Belmokhtar's main goal is "to form an international terrorist group in the Sahel and Sahara, like al-Qaeda which includes fighters holding various nationalities", according to former military officer Taher Ben Thamer. He added that the terrorist hopes to control vast areas of the desert at the expense of other local and regional groups.

Ben Thamer noted fierce competition between regional terror groups and a strong rivalry between their leaders to control money obtained from smuggling and ransom payments.

"Belmokhtar is trying to impose himself as a key actor in the region," Ben Thamer added. "He succeeded, at least in the media, to impose his name in the region."

He added that the group he heads "may repeat the attempt another time and may target other countries and the interests of foreign countries so as to be the number one in the region and push aside all other terrorist groups".

"An attack on the In Amenas gas complex was an attempt to attack Algeria's economic lifeblood and the country's economic partners," said Mohamed Sameem, an academic who specialises in security affairs.

Sameem noted that the participation of Canadian terrorists in the operation "was a point that the group was keen on highlighting, to send a message that citizens from Western countries are fighting along the elements of these groups; something that would give an international dimension to their operation".

Testimonies of survivors showed that one of the terrorists was speaking fluent English. It was later confirmed that he was the Canadian element in the group, who talked to a number of British hostages in their own language, yelling at them to open the door using a North American English accent.

Prime Minister Sellal said that a Canadian terrorist gave orders to his elements to blow up the gas plant to stop the advance of Special Forces. He added that the group actually tried to blow up the facility when they threw a bomb that caused a blast in the gas pipeline, before civil defence personnel and workers intervened to put out the fire.

Sellal noted the regional dimension to the terrorist operation by talking about the deteriorating security situation along Algeria's southern border as a result of armed Islamists' control of vast areas of Mali.

"We reject the establishment of a Sahelistan on our southern borders," Sellal said, stressing the need to counter terrorist threats in northern Mali.

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    عبد الكريم 2014-6-2

    The action of ANP in the event of Tigntourine was very late. It should have intervened from the first hour. However, the toll of the operation was a lesson for Khawarej that there is no mercy, no compassion and no bargaining. Because anyone who wants to take your place, the place cannot be taken by a corrupt. But the way of Khawarej is blasts and destructions. There is no text from sharia allowing killing and taking hostages with whom we have covenants and are protected by a Muslim. If you want to fight disbelievers, fight them in their countries. With your act, you are attracting more enemies to Muslims and distorting the image of Islam in the eyes of those you might attract to it. We are an Umma of preaching. Fighting was decreed when there is a call to fight people. In this way we're giving superiority to disbelievers above us. When the messenger, peace be upon him, was addressed about hypocrites, he said "No, so that Arabs wouldn't say Mohamed is killing his companions". This is the way of the prophet.


  2. Anonymous thumb

    l'objectivité n'est pas une petite tape dans le do 2013-3-19

    To Djoundi– Talk about shooting the messenger. As far as I can tell, Magharebia is reporting the news and doing so objectively, something that does not make it responsible for the content of the news. Yet, some forum-goers here like you want to make it seem like Magharebia is responsible for the attack on Amenas just because it published information regarding Amenas. Maybe you need to re-read the article because the entire article is neutral. It gives information on who was involved in the attack according to the Algerian Prime Minister, the Algerian Minister of Communications and some Algerian experts. What more do you want? Are you expecting Magharebia to say that the attackers were devils? That's not news, that's pointless propaganda, which does not give any information about what happened and has the sole purpose of priming you for an emotional response. Of course the Amenas attackers are vile, but how does saying that help you understand what really happened? And do you need yet another (an umpteenth) news source to tell you that instead of reporting what actually happened according to the experts and officials in Algeria? If you need a little pat on the back every time something bad happens in Algeria, then you should not visit a news website.


  3. Anonymous thumb

    @Rabie 3 2013-3-18

    The Russian leadership wanted to show that while it was allowed that the 13 former Union Republics to secede from the Soviet Union, it was not allowed thatx the 188 regions of Russia to secede from the Russian Republic, which had become the country of Russia. The Russian leadership made this point by killing nearly 1 million innocent people. So by your analogy, are you trying to say that the Algerian leadership wanted to prevent southern Algeria from seceding and decided to massacre these hostages to "send this message"? In all cases of the analogy you make to Russia, the ends do not justify the means. You cannot justify the murder of innocent people for any of these reasons—neither as a way to sow fear to prevent the support of an opponent, nor as a result of poor military intelligence, nor as a way to violently threaten opposition.


  4. Anonymous thumb

    @Rabie 2 2013-3-18

    The other case was the Moscow Theatre Massacre. This was actually a case of poor military intelligence. You see, the Russian leadership already had the support of Muscovites because very few Muscovites supported the Chechen rebels. The Russian leadership gave the order to release a noxious gas derived from heroine into the theatre because the manufacturer of the gas said that the innocent people could be given an antidote after the Chechen rebels were immobilised. Low and behold, the antidote did not work and nearly everyone died. So, are you trying to say that Algeria accidentally killed the people in Amenas because of poor military intelligence? I would also not be surprised if this was the case for the high-up Algerian authorities. You also forgot to mention that certain factions in Chechnya, which is one of the 188 regions of Russia, wanted independence from Russia. Most of the leaders of these factions were corrupt and opportunistic, but Yeltsin in Russia was equally so. The response to this, which was largely orchestrated by Putin under Yeltsin, was to bomb Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, to smithereens in a bombing campaign that made Kosovo look like a picnic in the spring. The problem was that most of the rebels had fled the city and were hiding in the nearby mountains, so the bombs largely fell on innocent people. In fact, over a million people died to Russia's bombs, most of whom were innocent civilians. And here again, the message was the same as the Beslan massacre.


  5. Anonymous thumb

    @Rabie 1 2013-3-18

    To Rabie– Your analogy is wrong. Firstly, you are mixing up two crises in Russia: the Beslan School Massacre, which is in Chechnya, and the Moscow Theatre Massacre. The Russian army is widely criticized by human rights activists in every country for the Beslan Massacre instead of approaching the situation carefully and with concern for the human lives that were in danger, it attacked with brute force and 334 people died, most of whom were children and most of whom were victims of Russian arms. Why? Because the Russian Army used tanks and incendiary rockets and other heavy weaponry to attack the school building with little concern for the children inside. This was not a mistake. It was a repeat of the same tactic the Red Army used to quash the unrest because of the White Army nearly 100 years ago. By killing these children, the Russian leadership was sending a message that "We do not care who you are, if the Chechen rebels are in your neighbourhood, you and your family will die regardless of your innocence." This was the way that the Russian leadership guaranteed that, even if neither Russian leadership nor Chechen rebels had no support in the region, at least the Russian leadership would cause the most fear. So, according to your analogy that Amenas and Bedlan were the same circumstances, are trying to say that the Algerian leadership was willing to sacrifice tens of innocent lives to make a point, particularly when no one in the vicinity of Amenas supported the terrorists anyway? I would not be too surprised if this was the intention of the Algerian leadership.


  6. Anonymous thumb

    Djoundi 2013-3-14

    The Algerian army is stronger than the terrorists and the boastful Magharebia. Liars will always be liars. The army knows well that the jealous hypocrites will not stop lying, but say what you will, it won't change a thing despite your not knowing anything about life. I am an Algerian soldier. Thank you, Algerian army.


  7. Anonymous thumb

    Oubiri 2013-3-13

    How surprising! Belmokhtar, alias Belaouar, has always invited himself into the oil companies' lifeblood bases (trusted sources) without worrying about anything, simply restocking food and fuel in complete peace! The Algerian secret services have closed their eyes to this fearing that he'd attack the production sites! This is what allowed him to become the Master of the Desert so that he could then implant himself in northern Mali! The attack on In- Amenas was a godsend for the French, who were intervening in Mali, because it forced Algeria to get further involved even though it was in full negotiations with the terrorist groups. The manipulation of these groups by various secret services is not to be written off, and the French hostages will now become collateral damages, as were the hostages at Amenas, who did not stand a chance given the disapproval coming from the lips of their own country. This is a war for re-colonisation, whose name is not being said! Oh, politics!


  8. Anonymous thumb

    RABIE 2013-3-6

    Lying to the people and getting away with it certainly happens everyday. However, to lie to yourself and believe your lie is of utmost stupidity because you can't face it as the opponent and the referee at the same time. This is the case of those who underestimate the way the Algerian army dealt with the recent events in In Amenas. Just compare it with what happened in Russia which has one of the strongest armies in the world in terms of organization and armament but it failed to liberate pupils of a school in Moscow without human losses which were very big and exceeded 180 people and what happened in Britain in the metro tunnel. You can also evaluate human losses resulting from that.


  9. Anonymous thumb

    عبدو 2013-3-4

    Black feet have contributed significantly to toppling many Algerian Mujahids during the glorious revolution. Infiltration and hypocrisy have existed ever since the era of the messenger (peace be upon him) to this day. There is no single country with no problems. However, I have something to say to the enemies of Islam firstly, enemies of Arabs and Algeria in particular. The war is welcome if it is to defend Islam, Arabism and authenticity. We won't allow any foreign intervention to solve our internal problems. Praise be to God for our officials and army who are capable of destabilizing NATO in its home. History will bear witness to what I am saying. God is the greatest! Viva Algeria free and safe!


  10. Anonymous thumb

    issam 2013-2-18

    You say that Algeria is a strong country and has a strong army. But how do you explain that a group of people made up of 16 or 30 individuals infiltrates the Algerian border, goes to the heart of the Algerian economy and kidnaps 839 people? How do you explain this? By the way, the Algerian army is highly deployed on the border between Mali and Algeria.


  11. Anonymous thumb

    mohamed 2013-2-16

    O Lord support Islam and Muslims! We are all brothers, our religion is Islam. Union, union O Muslims!


  12. Anonymous thumb

    صلاح الدين 2013-2-12

    Why do we talk a lot without acting? We Algerians have determination and chivalry. Our principle is to talk a little and act a lot. Our values are clear and our principles are fixed. As for the fuss in the region, this is not new. It is very old. The aim is to destroy this country because Europe isn’t happy with the stability and security of our country and the reason is known. Moreover, they don’t want the Maghreb, Arab or even Muslim unity. Therefore, they are doing the impossible to tear up the country and displace the people by causing apparent and hidden strife. Big countries including those which protect Israel want a new colonization but in another way and of course after eliminating what remains of our authentic civilization values. So, everyone must listen, this is a targeted and very special message to the whole world and anyone who wishes evil to this country. We Algerians don’t and won’t allow anyone regardless of his high rank to touch one inch of our country or destabilize its security no matter how many souls it costs. Finally, I say one word, the price of liberating this country is one million and half a million martyrs or more. The price for preserving this freedom is 40 million martyrs. The wise understands with a sign.


  13. Anonymous thumb

    lafrit 2013-2-8

    Why, with each instance tied to terrorism, do you incriminate the Polisario, which is leading a legitimate fight?


  14. Anonymous thumb

    rahma 2013-2-7

    May God rest the soul of all martyrs and reform the whole Muslim Umma!


  15. Anonymous thumb

    طيب 2013-2-2

    Kill terrorism!


  16. Anonymous thumb

    achref 2013-2-1

    One! Two! Three! Long live Algeria!


  17. Anonymous thumb

    ritajmakkiy 2013-2-1

    May God rest the soul of everyone who sacrificed his life for Algeria! There is no terrorism in Algeria. May God rest the soul of everyone who sacrificed his life for Algeria, amen, your abode is in paradise!


  18. Anonymous thumb

    boutarane karim 2013-2-1

    We thank the national popular army and higher authorities of the state for liberating foreign nationals and Algerians. May God rest the souls of martyrs! Long live Algeria! Long live president Bouteflika, may God grant him a long life!


  19. Anonymous thumb

    رشيد الوزاني 2013-1-31

    Our Moroccan brothers suffer from a disease called Polisario and Algeria. The Arab Sahraoui Republic is established and it is a founding member of the African Union. It has offices in all countries. No matter how long it takes, they will get their independence.


  20. Anonymous thumb

    marwan 2013-1-29

    Mind your own business and leave my peaceful Algeria alone. Why don’t you speak about Morocco?


  21. Anonymous thumb

    younsi djamel 2013-1-27

    It’s clear that Acharif Moulay Abdellah Bousrakou is the opposite of an anti-colonialist and supports the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination like the resolutions on the Western Sahara would have it! As for Mossad and the CIA, they work for the interests of their countries, not like you and your secret services, which work for the money of those who use you. (They put you to work in the spreading the jargon of the secret services!)


  22. Anonymous thumb

    maida 2013-1-25

    “Benjamin Netanyahi received $3 million from Qatar for his electoral campaign. The same goes for his ally, Yisrael Beiteinu, presided over by Avigdor Lieberman, who received $2.5 million.” This is what the Zionist ex-Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated on an Israeli television channel. According to the leader of the Kadima Party, some high-ups are “making a serious mistake because we are looking like highway robbers to the world.” For her, “Qatar is a friendly country and I am personally very much a friend with Miss Moza, but this is about our state and our democracy, which must not be discredited in the world.” Nevertheless, Tizip Livni’s statements were not widely repeated by the Israeli press outside of the few written publications that mentioned them.


  23. Anonymous thumb

    MESSI 2013-1-25

    This is not good.


  24. Anonymous thumb

    Amazigh N'Dzair 2013-1-25

    Poor Moroccans, instead of reading in order to at least learn what’s going on around you and therefore understand what’s going on over there, you persist in living in denial, writing about everything except the truth. Keep on lying; no one will believe you. Everyone has figured out that you are paranoiacs. If there is an earthquake or flood in Morocco, it’s the fault of Algeria and its generals and of People’s Liberation Front of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (the Polisario). If there’s an economic crisis or unemployment in Morocco, it’s the fault of Algeria and its generals and the Polisario Front. You do not bring anything to the table; you make the debate mediocre and, what’s more, no one believes you. Since terrorism is the issue, let it be known that the Spanish judge Baltazar Carson was on one of the first in the region to declare Morocco as the number one terrorist threat in the region for all of Europe and for North Africa and the Sahel because Morocco is the cradle of the terrorist ideology (salafism) in our region. Dear propagandists, instead of attacking Algeria and the Polisario Front with your lies, tell us how to go about fighting the terrorist ideology because the fight against the terrorists is in vain if their ideology is not attacked. The founder of MUJAO, Mustaphya Limam Ould Chafil, is a Mauritanian on paper, but he technically belongs to the Moroccan Tadjakent Tribe and his ties to certain security institutions in Morocco are known to everyone. The Moroccans even helped the putsch-leader Guinean Captan Camara, who was wounded by a bullet from one of his guards, in getting medical care in Rabat, so Morocco is the one supporting terrorism... go find out why!


  25. Anonymous thumb

    said 2013-1-23

    The military de facto in power in Algeria are the source of all terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel due to their hegemonic aims. They are hypocritical “partners” in the anti-terrorist fight; otherwise, why do they cite the nationality and citizenship of all the terrorists in Amenas except those of the group leader, who is no other than one of the leaders of the Polisario, a terrorist group created by Algeria against its neighbour, Morocco??? I repeat this for the umpteenth time: all the evils in the region are the direct or indirect consequence of the policies pursued by the political-military criminal mafia that reigns in Algeria!


  26. Anonymous thumb

    مريم 2013-1-23

    There is no place for terrorism in our country Algeria. A big salutation and respects in advance to those who sacrificed their lives for the Algerian flag. May God rest in peace the soul of the first dead person in this operation, Mohamed Lamine from Tiaret.


  27. Anonymous thumb

    benhkm 2013-1-23

    Very good.


  28. Anonymous thumb

    Acharif Moulay Abdellah BOUSKRAOUI 2013-1-22

    Al-Qaida is apparently turning toward the Sahel since it has the support of the Polisario, which is providing it with weapons, accommodation and political protection. Al-Qaida’s kidnappings, which created a big commotion in North Africa and the Sahel, were carried out with the tactical support of the Polisario, which provides it with information and personnel—it’s a human source of men who are already trained to use arms and are very familiar with the operations terrain. Therefore, the leaders of Al-Qaida’s network have no problems because they’ve found all the fertile elements for their expansion, not to mention that the Sahel is a difficult and large region, which no force can cover. It’s sort of another Afghanistan. The terrain is leading the fight. Therefore, the only advice for the leaders of the neighbouring states of the Sahel is American aid, namely strong support from the CIA and NSA, that have surveillance and monitoring capabilities. This is what led us to think of creating an American military base. It was the only solution to face terrorism in the region—with, of course, the close coordination of all the intelligence services of the neighbouring states of the Sahel. Without this base, no effort would lead to anything given that in order to lead an operation of this magnitude, the expense would exhaust the neighbouring states, which already suffer from poverty and unemployment. The secret services, namely France’s DGSE, have many useful sources of information such that France’s help is necessary, and even Mossad has information sources that have infiltrated the Al-Qaida Islamists, which makes the installation of this base useful the coordination of all the concerned services.


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