Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Military Space News .




TERROR WARS
Hostage fears grow over al-Qaida 'deaths'
by Staff Writers
Bamako, Mali (UPI) Mar 4, 2013


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The reported deaths in northern Mali of two top commanders of al-Qaida's North African wing has heightened fears for the safety of four French hostages held by Islamist forces in the West African desert.

Chadian troops claimed Saturday they had killed Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a key leader of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and a veteran of the Afghanistan war against the Soviets in 1979-89, in heavy fighting around the Ifoghas Mountains in northern Mali.

Chadian President Idriss Deby said Friday his forces had also killed Abdel Hamid Abou Zeid, another important AQIM leader, in fighting in the same region.

Jihadist forces withdrew into the mountains of northern Mali after being pushed out of southern Mali by French troops who intervened in France's former colony Jan. 11 to crush heavily armed jihadists who established a stronghold there in April 2012.

There has been no confirmation by the AQIM and its Malian Islamist allies, nor by independent sources, that these two key figures have been slain.

France, with forces and intelligence assets on the ground, has made no comment on the claims by the troops from Chad, another former French colony which has been supporting the French task force in Mali.

This could be because Paris fears for the lives of the four French captives -- Pierre Legrand, Thierry Dol, Daniel Larribe and Marc Feret -- who were kidnapped in September 2010 in Niger where France has major uranium mining interests.

Algeria, which has been fighting Belmokhtar and Abou Zeid for two decades, also hasn't been able to confirm the deaths.

However, French and Algerian media reported that relatives of Abou Zeid have provided French authorities with DNA samples that could verify his identity.

If these two key AQIM figures have been killed it could be a major blow to the jihadist groups fighting in northern Mali and which regional and European powers view as a transnational threat.

It also suggests that the 4,000-person French task force, supported by airstrikes and Chadian desert fighters trained in counterinsurgency operations by the U.S. Army, are making substantial progress battling through the rugged 8,500-square-mile mountain chain where the jihadists are holed up after nearly two months of combat.

Meantime, the death of another veteran jihadist commander, a 20-year Sudanese guerrilla veteran known as Abu Hazim al Sudani, was announced on internet forums used regularly by al-Qaida.

Like hundreds of foreign jihadists who flocked to join AQIM after the Islamists seized northern Mali in early 2012, al-Sudani traveled with 150 of his countrymen to aid AQIM after France's Operation Serval was launched in January.

He was reportedly killed in a French airstrike but the date and location of his death weren't announced.

Abou Zeid, AQIM's most feared commander who largely operated in the Sahara desert in southern Algeria, as well as Mali, Chad, Niger, Senegal and Burkina Faso, specialized in kidnapping Europeans over the last five years.

He amassed ransoms worth around $80 million that filled AQIM's warchests. The group has been part of al-Qaida since 2009.

The onetime smuggler turned jihadist, who married the daughters of Tuareg tribal chiefs to consolidate his power in the Sahara and the Sahel region, is believed to have executed at least two European hostages.

They were Edwin Dyer of Britain in 2009 and Frenchman Michel Germaneau in 2010, when French Special Forces tried to rescue him.

The fear is that if he is dead, his followers may kill the four Frenchmen they now hold. So far as is known, that hasn't happened.

Belmokhtar, equally ruthless, supposedly broke with AQIM a few months ago to form a splinter group. But he masterminded the seizure of the In Amenas natural gas complex in Algeria's southeastern desert near the Libyan border Jan. 16, five days after the French attacked in Mali.

The four-day siege ended when Algerian Special Forces stormed the complex, killing 48 foreign captives and 32 of the estimated 40 attackers.

Belmokhtar, another former smuggler and veteran of the Algerian civil war during the 1990s, has been reported killed several times in recent years. But he has always reappeared.

French intelligence calls the elusive Algerian "the uncatchable."

.


Related Links
The Long War - Doctrine and Application






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TERROR WARS
US soldier faces July 1 trial over Fort Hood massacre
Chicago (AFP) Feb 28, 2013
A new trial date of July 1 has been set for the US Army psychiatrist accused of massacring 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009, a military judge ruled Thursday. Major Nidal Hasan, who faces the death penalty, is accused of going on a shooting spree that also wounded 32 people. The shooting jolted the US military and prompted calls for stronger safeguards against possible internal security thr ... read more


TERROR WARS
US radar to boost missile defence in Japan

Israel tests Arrow but funding cuts loom

Israel tests new Arrow missile interceptor

JLENS demonstrates tactical ballistic missile defense capability

TERROR WARS
Syria missile strikes in Aleppo leave 58 dead: NGO

India wants to sell Russia BraMos missiles

Brazil to open talks on buying Russian missiles

JASSM Completes Lot 6 Reliability Assessment Program Testing

TERROR WARS
Europe presses ahead on UAS development

Better workstations for drone operators may reduce mishaps

Boeing Phantom Eye Completes Second Flight

US military may take over part of CIA drone war

TERROR WARS
Boeing Receives USAF Contract for Integrated C4ISR Targeting Solution

Air Operations Center Modernization Program PDR Completed

Advanced Communications Waveforms Ported To Navy Digital Modular Radios

Astrium tapped for communications network

TERROR WARS
Raytheon's new precision artillery ready for low-rate initial production

New clip-on Thermal Weapon Sight offers more accurate targeting

Caribbean security firms see niche market

Bolstering the Front Line of Biological Warfare Response

TERROR WARS
Australian defense cuts to hit deployments

US Defense Secretary Hagel scolds budget cuts

British military capability at risk from more cuts: minister

Britain's MoD under fire for 'wasting' billions

TERROR WARS
China to seal Xi's power after months of pledges

Outside View: Unintended consequences

Japan scrambles fighters to meet China plane

Japan PM quotes Britain's Iron Lady on island dispute

TERROR WARS
Silver nanoparticles may adversely affect environment

Scientists delve deeper into carbon nanotubes

New taxonomy of platinum nanoclusters

Nano-machines for 'bionic proteins'




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement