Libyans ar­rest wife of se­nior al-Qaida-linked mil­i­tant

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Libyan au­thor­i­ties have said they have ar­rested a wife of the oneeyed mil­i­tant leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, once con­sid­ered the most dan­ger­ous man in the Sa­hara and a vet­eran al-Qaidalinked fig­ure.

A Libyan anti-ter­ror­ism force said that one of Belmokhtar's wives, Asma Kadousi, was ar­rested Satur­day along with a fe­male com­pan­ion. It said she had re­cently given birth in the mil­i­tant strong­hold of Darna, in eastern Libya. It said Belmokhtar is be­lieved to be in south­ern Libya.

A wit­ness told The As­so­ci­ated Press ear­lier this month that he had seen Belmokhtar in the south­ern town of Sabha, where a drone at­tack re­port­edly killed a mil­i­tant leader linked to Belmokhtar, along with six oth­ers, last week. The wit­ness asked not to be named for se­cu­rity con­cerns, and it was not pos­si­ble to con­firm the re­port.

The Al­ge­rian mil­i­tant, once a top fig­ure in al-Qaida's North African af­fil­i­ate, is one of the most-wanted mil­i­tants in the re­gion, with a $5 mil­lion re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to his cap­ture. He es­caped a US drone strike in eastern Libya last year.

Belmokhtar led the Jan­uary 2013 at­tack on Al­ge­ria's Ain Ame­nas gas com­plex, in which at least 35 hostages, in­clud­ing three Amer­i­cans, were killed. Be­lieved to be 43 years old, he was dubbed "the one-eyed sheikh" af­ter los­ing an eye in com­bat.

He was later named the leader of the Mora­bitoon, an al-Qaidalinked group that op­er­ates in north­ern and western Africa, ac­cord­ing to the Long War Jour­nal, a blog that mon­i­tors ji­hadi groups.

Libya has been plagued by chaos since the 2011 up­ris­ing, in which US and Euro­pean airstrikes helped rebels over­throw the long­time dic­ta­tor Moam­mar Gad­hafi.

Today much of the coun­try is con­trolled by a patch­work of armed groups, some of which are al­lied to a UN-backed gov­ern­ment based in the cap­i­tal, Tripoli, and oth­ers al­lied to au­thor­i­ties based in the coun­try's far east.

The UN-bro­kered gov­ern­ment on Tues­day con­demned the killing of a se­nior re­li­gious of­fi­cial who was ab­ducted in Tripoli a month ago. It was not clear who killed Nader al-Om­rani, but he was a mem­ber of a re­li­gious body that is strongly op­posed to Field Mar­shal Khal­ifa Hifter, who leads forces al­lied with the eastern gov­ern­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.