Tag Archives: Al-Qaeda

Yemen: Al-Qaeda’s leader upon UN arrest lies appear in video.

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AQAP claimed responsibility for the 2019 mass shooting at a US naval base in Florida, in which a Saudi air force officer killed three American sailors.

The leader of Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen appears to be still at large despite a United Nations report which claimed he had been under arrest for months, the SITE Intelligence Group and two local tribal leaders said Thursday after he was seen in a video released by the jihadist group.

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Khalid Batarfi, who has been the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for about a year, talks about the storming of the US Congress last month in the video, which came out Wednesday.

The video, which opens with footage of the January 6 assault by Donald Trump supporters, belies reports that Batarfi was under arrest, said SITE, which monitors extremist organisations.

In the 20-minute video titled “America and the Painful Seizure”, Batarfi says “storming the Congress is only the tip of the iceberg of what will come to them, God willing”.

A report filed to the UN Security Council last week claimed Batarfi was arrested and his deputy, Saad Atef al-Awlaqi, killed during an “operation in Ghayda City, Al-Mahrah governorate, in October”.

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Two local tribal leaders in the Al-Bayda governorate in central Yemen, where AQAP is active, told AFP there was a high probability the person arrested was not Batarfi but another member of the jihadist group.

“Most probably, he wasn’t arrested, and the one who was arrested was another senior leader in the group,” one of the tribal leaders said.

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The UN report, which summarised global potential jihadist threats, did not disclose his whereabouts or reveal any further details of the October operation.

‘Global terrorist’
AQAP revealed it had appointed Batarfi, believed to be in his early 40s, as its leader in February 2020 following the death of his predecessor Qassim al-Rimi in a US air strike in Yemen.

(FILES) In this file image grab taken on June 16, 2015 from a video released by Al-Malahem Media, the media arm of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), shows Khalid Omar Batarfi (also known as Abu Meqdad al-Kindi) a spokesman for AQAP announcing in a video posted online, the death of its leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi, number two in the global jihadist organisation, in a US drone strike. – The leader of Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate has been under arrest for several months, according to a United Nations report released on February 4, 2021, in what will be seen as a huge breakthrough in the fight against the global jihadist threat. The document said Khalid Batarfi, was arrested and his deputy, Saad Atef al-Awlaqi, died during an “operation in Ghayda City, in Yemen’s al-Mahrah Governorate, in October.” (Photo by – / AL-MALAHEM MEDIA / AFP)

Batarfi, who was designated a global terrorist by the US State Department in 2018, has appeared in numerous AQAP videos over recent years, according to SITE, and appeared to have been Rimi’s deputy and group spokesman.

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Washington considers AQAP to be the worldwide jihadist network’s most dangerous branch, and has waged a long-running drone war against the leaders of the group.

AQAP claimed responsibility for the 2019 mass shooting at a US naval base in Florida, in which a Saudi air force officer killed three American sailors.

The Sunni extremist group thrived in the chaos of years of civil war between Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

AQAP has carried out operations against both the Huthis and government forces as well as sporadic attacks abroad, including on the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo in 2015.

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Analysts say its abilities on the ground have dwindled, although it still inspires attacks carried out by “lone wolf” jihadists or former operatives.

Yemen has been wracked by conflict since 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition intervened after the Huthis seized control of the capital Sanaa.

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#Newsworthy

Al-Qaeda’s second in command silently killed in Iran

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The attack, which took place on August 7 on the anniversary of the Africa bombings, has not been publicly acknowledged by the US, Iran, Israel or Al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, indicted in the US for the 1998 bombings of its embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, was secretly killed in Iran in August, The Noble Reporters Media reported Saturday.

Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who was on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists, was shot and killed in Tehran by two Israeli operatives on a motorcycle at the behest of the United States, intelligence officials confirmed to NoRM.

The senior Qaeda leader, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was killed along with his daughter, Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden, NoRM said.

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US federal authorities had offered a $10 million reward for any information leading to his capture.

Abdullah was the “most experienced and capable operational planner not in US or allied custody,” according to a highly classified document provided by the US National Counterterrorism Center in 2008, according to the Times.

The bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 left 224 people dead and more than 5,000 injured.

Abdullah was indicted by a US federal grand jury later that year for his role.


#Newsworthy…

France’s satirical paper reprinting caricatures of Prophet Muhammad.

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The move comes a day before 13 men and one woman accused of assisting the 2015 attackers of the paper go on trial.


The French satirical paper whose Paris offices were attacked in 2015 is reprinting the caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad that the gunmen who opened fire on its editorial staff cited as their motivation.

The move was announced on Tuesday, a day before 13 men and a woman accused of providing the attackers with weapons and logistics go on trial on charges of terrorism on Wednesday.

In an editorial this week accompanying the caricatures, the paper said the drawings “belong to history, and history cannot be rewritten nor erased”.

The January 2015 attacks against Charlie Hebdo and, two days later, a kosher supermarket, touched off a wave of killings claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group across Europe.

Seventeen people died in the attacks – 12 of them at the editorial offices – along with all three attackers.

The attackers, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, claimed their attack on the newspaper in the name of al-Qaeda. As they left the scene at Charlie Hebdo, they killed a wounded policeman and drove away.

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Two days later, a prison acquaintance of theirs stormed a kosher supermarket on the eve of the Jewish Sabbath, claiming allegiance to ISIL. Four hostages were killed during the attack.

The Kouachi brothers had by then holed up in a printing office with another hostage. All three attackers died in near-simultaneous police raids.

The supermarket attacker, Amedy Coulibaly, also killed a young policewoman.

The artwork depicting members of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo [File: Francois Guillot/AFP]

Blasphemy
The caricatures re-published this week were first printed in 2006 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, setting off sometimes violent protests by Muslims who believe depicting the Prophet is blasphemy.

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Charlie Hebdo, infamous for its irreverence, regularly caricatures religious leaders from various faiths and republished them soon afterwards.

The paper’s Paris offices were firebombed in 2011 and its editorial leadership placed under police protection, which remains in place to this day.

Laurent Sourisseau, the paper’s director and one of the few staff to have survived the attack, named each of the victims in a foreword to this week’s edition.

“Rare are those who, five years later, dare oppose the demands that are still so pressing from religions in general, and some in particular,” wrote Sourisseau, also known as Riss.


#Newsworthy…

[Yemen] Al-Qaeda militants kill dentist for “Spying”

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Al-Qaeda militants in war-torn Yemen executed a dentist accused of spying for the government and guiding US drone strikes targeting the Islamist extremists, a local official said on Sunday.

The jihadis shot Motthar al-Youssoufi, then crucified his corpse and left it outside his health centre, the official told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) on condition of anonymity.

The execution took place on Saturday in Somaa, a district of Yemen’s central Al-Baida province, the official added.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is active in Yemen, is considered by the United States as the radical group’s most dangerous branch.

The US has carried out a long-running drone campaign in Yemen.

The Sunni extremist group has thrived in the chaos of years of civil war between Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and Shiite rebels who control the capital.

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An AQAP video contained — according to the organisation — a “confession” by the dentist to having worked with government security services, and to having placed microchips to guide US missile strikes.

AQAP operates in the Al-Baida province — which is under nominal government control — after retreating from positions in the south and east of the country, the local official added.

The group plans to execute another Yemeni accused of spying, and is holding five more men and seven women also accused of espionage, the official said.

AQAP has carried out operations against both the Huthis and government forces, as well as sporadic attacks abroad.


#Newsworthy…

Al-Qaeda leader in Mali killed.

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French forces have killed the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Algerian Abdelmalek Droukdel, in northern Mali, France’s defence minister said.

Droukdel was killed on Thursday near the Algerian border, where the group has bases from which it has carried out attacks and abductions of Westerners in the sub-Saharan Sahel zone, Defence Minister Florence Parly said Friday.

“Many close associates” of Droukdel — who commanded several affiliate jihadist groups across the lawless region — were also “neutralised”, she added.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) emerged from a group started in the late 1990s by radical Algerian Islamists, who in 2007 pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network.

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The group has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks on troops and civilians across the Sahel, including a 2016 attack on an upmarket hotel and restaurant in Burkina Faso, which killed 30 people, mainly Westerners.

France has deployed more than 5,000 troops to combat jihadist groups in the region — a largely lawless expanse stretching over Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, where drugs and arms flow through porous borders.

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Northern Mali is the site of frequent clashes between rival armed groups, as well as a haven for jihadist activity.

In 2012, key cities fell under the control of jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda, who exploited an ethnic Tuareg-led rebel uprising, leading to a French-led military intervention.

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According to the UN, Droukdel was an explosives expert and manufactured devices that killed hundreds of civilians in attacks on public places.

He was sentenced to death in Algeria in 2013 for his involvement in the bombings of a government building and offices of the UN’s refugee committee in Algiers that killed 26 people and wounded 177.

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The US said it had provided intelligence to help track down Droukdel.

“US Africa Command was able to assist with intelligence and… support to fix the target,” spokesman Colonel Chris Karns told CNN on Friday.

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– Islamic State official captured –

France also claimed on Friday to have captured a leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS) group, which carries out frequent attacks over Niger’s western borders.

“On May 19, French forces captured Mohamed el Mrabat, veteran jihadist in the Sahel region and an important cadre in EIGS”, Parly said on Twitter.

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Operations against EIGS “the other great terrorist threat in the region” are continuing, said Parly.

Mali is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that erupted in 2012 and has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives since.

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Despite the presence of thousands of French and UN troops, the conflict has engulfed the centre of the country and spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

A source told AFP that some 500 jihadist fighters had been killed or captured by French troops in the region in recent months, among them several leading figures including commanders and recruiters.

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Droukdel’s death is a symbolic coup for the French, a military source said.

He had remained a threat in the region, capable of financing jihadist movements, even though his leadership had been contested, the source added.

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His death, and that of other Al Qaeda figures, could leave the group disorganised in the Sahel.

Born in 1971 in a poor neighbourhood of Algiers, Droukdel took part in the founding in Algeria of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC).

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Abdelaziz Bouteflika, elected Algerian president in 1999, managed to convince most of the armed groups in the country to lay down their weapons.

The GSPC, however, refused to do so and Droukdel decided to approach Al-Qaeda.


#Newsworthy…

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