Terrorism in Algeria and war in Mali shows the increasing reach of Islamic extremist spreading in the Sahara. It is being reported that Al Qaeda is shifting its focus to Syria, Libya, Iraq, Algeria, and Mali.
The orgin of the Mali conflict is not global but local. Rebel Islamic fighters have held most of northern Mali, roughly the size of France, for almost a year.
France is working with the Organiza of African Union to aid Mali.
France says it will leave when the African forces can take over.
The U.S. has begun to assist with troop lifts and air refueling.
The Algerian natural gas plant where 37 foreign workers were executed has had a problem with locals who are thought to have helped the attackers.
This is a site in the middle of nowhere, with 700 people on site and 600 are Algerian. The Algerian army is hard to explian how 40 heavily armed rebles could crossed from Libya to seize the plant.
The West cannot turn its back on another Al Qaeda advance in Africa,
Terrorism in Algeria and war in Mali shows the increasing reach of Islamic extremist spreading in the Sahara. It is being reported that Al-Qaeda is shifting its focus to Syria, Libya, Iraq, Algeria and Mali.
The origin of the conflict in Mali is not, primarily regional or global, but local. Rebel Islamic fighters have held the northern part of Mali for almost a year. The rebel move South was apparently a response to the French ground and air assault which began on 11 January with the French objective to “restore Mali’s territorial integrity,” according to the French President Francois Hollande.
Earlier France was working with the UN to bring African Union forces to aid Mali but the rebel forces moved south before any foreign troops could arrive. France decided that only quick action would save their former French colony from Islamic jihadist. The French now plan to continue the assault on the retreating insurgents into the North before the rainy season starts in about a month.
The U. S. is significantly expanding its assistance to the French by offering aerial refueling and planes to transport soldiers from other African nations according to the Pentagon.
The Algerian natural gas plant where 37 foreign hostages were murdered last weekend had employed a trucking company owned by the brother of the regional leader of Al Qaeda, Mohamed Ghadir, better known as Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, a prominent leader in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the terrorist organizations waging war across the Sahara
Several Egyptian members of the squad of militants that lay bloody siege to an Algerian gas complex last week also took part in the deadly attack on the United States Mission in Libya in September, a senior Algerian official said Tuesday.
The Egyptians involved in both attacks were killed by Algerian forces during the four-day ordeal that ended in the deaths of at least 38 hostages and 29 kidnappers, the official said. But three of the militants were captured alive, and one of them described the Egyptians’ role in both assaults under interrogation by the Algerian security services, the official said.
If confirmed, the link between two of the most brazen assaults in recent memory would reinforce the transborder character of the jihadist groups now striking across the Sahara. American officials have long warned that the region’s volatile mix of porous borders, turbulent states, weapons and ranks of fighters with similar ideologies creates a dangerous landscape in which extremists are trying to collaborate across vast distances.
English-speaking jihadis seen in Mali, as a Canadian is reported to have co-ordinated Algeria attack
Canada is today investigating an allegation by the Algerian Prime Minister that one of its citizens co-ordinated the terror raid at the Saharan gas plant in which dozens of hostages were killed.
Westerners, including a man with blond hair and blue eyes, are believed to have been among the Islamist militants who launched last week’s attack on the Tigantourine complex near Algeria’s border with Libya.
A French jihadist, previously unknown to authorities, and two Canadians are suspected to have been involved in the hostage-taking, and reports also claim that a man with a Western accent was among the extremists who lured terrified gas workers from their rooms during the hostage crisis.
Algerian special forces stormed a natural gas complex in the middle of the Sahara desert on Saturday in a “final assault” that ended a four-day-old hostage crisis, according to the state news agency and two foreign governments. At least 19 hostages and 29 Islamist militants have been killed.
The report, quoting a security source, didn’t say whether any hostages or militants remained alive, and it didn’t give the nationalities of the dead.
It said the army was forced to intervene after a fire broke out in the plant and said the militants killed the hostages. It wasn’t immediately possible to verify who killed the captives.
Seven hostages and 11 militants were killed in Saturday’s operation, adding to the previous tally of 12 captives and 18 kidnappers.
The armed forces of France and Britain are woefully ill-prepared for the new age of self-sufficiency
It’s been a busy few days for those responsible for looking after our national security interests. On Tuesday, David Cameron hosted a lively discussion at the National Security Council about his decision to support the French military operation to Mali, and yesterday the Government was desperately trying to save the lives of British hostages in Algeria.
The two events, of course, are not unrelated. By offering to provide France with two of the RAF’s giant C-17 transporter aircraft, Mr Cameron was committing Britain to support the French military operation to prevent al-Qaeda seizing control of Mali, with all the implications that was likely to have for British interests in the region. So he should hardly be surprised when, just as French forces began deploying to Mali, another al-Qaeda cell retaliated by attacking BP’s In Amenas gas field in neighbouring Algeria, killing one British worker and taking dozens more captive, including a number of Britons.
Mr Cameron no doubt took a number of political factors into consideration when weighing the decision to back the French. At a time when Britain finds itself isolated in Brussels, he probably calculated that, by doing the French a favour, he would strengthen his friendship with François Hollande. The Mali operation also provided an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the Anglo-French military cooperation accord.
But following yesterday’s disastrous intervention by the Algerian military …
An Algerian military raid to free hostages from at least 10 countries and wipe out their Islamist militant captors unleashed bloody chaos at a remote Sahara natural gas complex, and the British government said Friday the operation was not yet over.
The fate of the fighters and many of the captives remained uncertain amid dueling claims from the Algerian military and the Islamists. Leaders around the world whose citizens were kidnapped by the militants expressed strong concerns about how Algeria was handing the situation.
Algeria’s government said the raid was over late Thursday night. But both Britain’s Foreign Office and U.S. officials said Friday the desert conflict with the terrorists was “ongoing.”
Manuel Valls, France’s interior minister, said the situation remained murky.
Reports are emerging that some western hostages may also have escaped from the compound where they have been held by Islamist militants since early on Wednesday. Reuters is reporting that:
Algeria’s Ennahar television said 15 foreigners, including two French citizens, had escaped the besieged plant deep in the Sahara desert. About 40 Algerians had also been freed, mainly women working as translators, it said.
The agency said a security source had told it that the the captors, who are encircled by Algerian troops, were demanding safe passage out with their prisoners. Algeria has repeatedly refused to negotiate.
Terrorists are stepping up their attacks, this time in Algeria…
ALGIERS (Reuters) - Islamist militants attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 foreigners including seven Americans in a dawn raid in retaliation for France’s intervention in Mali, according to regional media reports.
The raiders were also reported to have killed three people, including a Briton and a French national.
An al Qaeda affiliated group said the raid had been carried out because of Algeria’s decision to allow France to use its air space for attacks against Islamists in Mali, where French forces have been in action against al Qaeda-linked militants since last week.
The attack in southern Algeria also raised fears that the French action in Mali could prompt further Islamist revenge attacks on Western targets in Africa, where al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) operates across borders in the Sahara desert, and in Europe.
AQIM said it had carried out Wednesday’s raid on the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria, Mauritania’s ANI news agency reported.
Fifty years after the end of Algeria’s bloody war of independence, President François Hollande is visiting France’s former colony amid new hopes of reconciliation. The question on Algerian minds is whether France will offer an apology.
It’s a prickly question Algeria has been dealing with for a decade: Is France ready to apologise for its colonial past? And as President François Hollande begins an official visit to the North African country on Wednesday, that question is more pressing than ever.
The two countries have never fully reconciled since the bloody 1954-1962 war, which ended with Algeria’s liberation and whose scars are akin to those left on a generation of Americans and Vietnamese who fought in and endured the consequences of the Vietnam War.
Billboards marking the 50th anniversary of Algeria’s independence are ubiquitous in the capital.Photo: Assiya Hamza/ France 24
Algerian authorities have claimed as many as 1.5 million people died during the eight-year conflict, while French estimates set a much lower figure of 350,000. Both Algerian and French civilians were often the target of attacks, while hundreds of thousands on both sides were uprooted because of the war.
Anger has subsided over the years, but bursts of deep-seated resentment are still occasionally on display. Reacting in November to news that an Algerian minister representing war veterans was planning on requesting “open recognition of the crimes perpetrated by French colonialism,” former defence minister Gerard Longuet made a vulgar gesture that was caught by a TV talk-show camera.