Al-Qaeda: Commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar Killed
The Al-Qaeda confirmed Belmokhtar’s death, but did not reveal when or when he was killed.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, also known as Khaled Abou El Abbas or Laaouar, was an Algerian terrorist, leader of the group Al-Murabitoun, former military commander of Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb and kidnapper, smuggler and weapons dealer.
He was twice convicted and sentenced to death in absentia under separate charges in Algerian courts: in 2007 for terrorism and in 2008 for murder; in 2004 he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Algeria for terrorist activities.
Born in northern Algeria, Belmokhtar traveled to Afghanistan in 1991 to fight with the Mujahadeen against the pro-Soviet government following the withdrawal of Soviet Union troops. There he lost his left eye while mishandling explosives. He later joined the Islamist GIA fighting in the Algerian Civil War and following that became a commander in the Mali-based Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
In December 2012, Belmokhtar announced he was leaving AQIM and headed his own organization, dubbed the Al-Mulathameen (“Masked”) Brigade.
In January 2013 the Brigade took more than 800 people hostage at the Tigantourine gas facility in Algeria. 39 hostages were executed and one Algerian killed before the facility was recaptured by Algerian forces who killed 29 members of the Brigade.