There are conflicting reports about the al-Qaeda (AQIM) attack in Algeria about 40 miles West of the Libyan border at a British Petroleum oil and gas operation. Do not expect the Western U.S. media to share too much factual information about the U.S. Hostages kidnapped as they provide cover for Obama. Remember, according to the White House al-Qaeda is dead. This latest attack/kidnapping counters their narrative and becomes an embarrassing risk to the Obama Administration.
What is known is the attack was retaliation against the Algerian government, to pressure and punish them, for their allowing French fighter jets to fly over Algerian airspace en route to attacks in Mali. The current demands are for free access to take the hostages to Libya. Any attempts at rescue, and the al-Qaeda operatives have stated they will kill the hostages. Here are two trustworthy reports (non U.S.).
(Via Long War Journal) A notorious al Qaeda commander named Mokhtar Belmokhtar has claimed credit for the kidnapping of 41 foreign nations at an BP oil field in eastern Algeria, according to multiple press reports.
A Frenchman, a Briton, and an Algeria security guard are reported to have beed killed in the initial attack. Seven Americans, five Japanese citizens, and several Europeans are said to be among those who are being held hostage.
According to Reuters, BP said that armed men still occupy the “facilities at the gas field, which produces 9 billion cubic meters of gas a year (160,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day), more than a tenth of [Algeria’s] overall gas output.”
A spokesman for Belmokhtar’s terrorist organization, the al-Mua’qi’oon Biddam (Those who Sign with Blood) Brigade, said the assault and kidnappings were retaliation for the French-led invasion of neighboring Mali.
“Algeria’s participation in the war on the side of France betrays the blood of the Algerian martyrs who fell in the fight against the French occupation,” the spokesman said, according to a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group. (read more)
(Via al Aryabia) Islamist militants attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 Westerners including seven Americans in a dawn raid in retaliation for France’s military intervention in Mali, according to regional media reports.
A Mauritanian news agency, ANI, said the raiders were commanded by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a veteran Saharan jihadist and smuggling kingpin. Here are some facts about Belmokhtar.
Linked to a string of kidnappings of foreigners in North Africa in the last decade, Algerian-born Belmokhtar has earned a reputation as one of the most daring and elusive Islamic jihadist leaders operating in one of the remotest corners of the globe – the vast Sahara desert.
“He’s one of the best known warlords of the Sahara,” said Stephen Ellis, an expert on organized crime and professor at the African Studies Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands. He said Belmokhtar had also gained notoriety as a Saharan smuggler, especially of cigarettes.
French intelligence dubbed Belmokhtar “the uncatchable” in 2002. (read more)