January 18th, 2013 by Andrew Bostom |
694 visitors have read this article
Early Wednesday (1/16/13) jihadists seized a gas field in Amenas, eastern Algeria, near the border with Libya, taking hostage just under 200 workers, predominantly Algerians, but also some forty foreigners, among them an undisclosed number of Americans. Speaking to France 24, an unnamed hostage claimed the prisoners were being forced to wear explosive belts. The hostage added that their captors were heavily armed and had threatened to detonate the base should the Algerian army attempt to storm it.
The jihadist attackers, in a statement sent to ANI, a Mauritanian news agency, claimed “the operation was a response to flagrant interference of Algeria, [which] opened its airspace to the French Air Force [who] bombed areas of northern Mali,” and demanded the “immediate halt of the aggression against our own in Mali.” Reference was also made to “the participation of Algeria in the war with France,” as “being a betrayal of the blood of the martyrs of Algerians who were killed in the fight against French colonialism.” Al Mulathameen (“The Masked Brigade”), who apparently prepared the announcement, is associated with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of Al Qaeda. The group insisted it was holding more than 40 “crusaders” —a prototypical jihadist reference to non-Muslims — “including seven Americans, two French, two British as well as other citizens of various European nationalities.” Algeria’s interior minister, Daho Ould Kablia, maintained the raid was orchestrated by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an Algerian who fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s and has reportedly established his own group in the Sahara
Click to continue: