Monatsarchiv: April 2011

French Al-Qaida Hostages´Message To Sarkozy

by Florian Flade

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Al-Qaida´s North African branch „Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb“ (AQIM) has released a new video/audio message from the four French nuclear worker kidnapped last September. The video, which contains still images of the French hostages Daniel Larribe, Pierre Legrand, Thierry Dol and Marc Furrer and their audio messages urging French President Nicolas Sarkozy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and thereby meet the demands of al-Qaida.

France has no right to be involved in the war in Afghanistan, the hostages say in similar statements recorded between April 11-13. President Sarkozy should pull the French soldiers out of Afghanistan.

Seven staff of a Uranium mine operated by a French company were kidnapped by Al-Qaida militants in Niger. In February three of the group, a Madagascan man, a Togolese man and a French woman were released by the Islamists. According to some media speculation based on unnamed sources close to negotiation talks said Al-Qaida had demanded US 130 Million ransom. If these demands were met by the French government is unknown.

NATO Kills Saudi Al-Qaida Commander in Afghanistan

by Florian Flade

NATO announced today a April 14th airstrike in eastern Afghanistan killed a wanted Saudi al-Qaida commander who was responsible for suicide bombings and attacks on Coalition troops. Abu Hafs al-Najdi aka „Abdul Ghani“ was one of ISAF´s most wanted targets in Afghanistan.

The 27 year-old Saudi national whose real name is Saleh Nayef al-Makhlafi regularly crossed the border into Pakistan and met with senior al-Qaida leadership, ISAF claims. Al-Makhlafi became al-Qaida´s commander and recruiter in Kunar Province, training militants and sending them on attacks against NATO and Afghan security forces.

When the NATO airstrike happened, al-Makhlafi was holding a meeting in Dangan district of Kunar with a number of Afghan, Pakistani and foreign militants, some of whom were also killed in the military strike.

The Saudi al-Qaida commander´s name is found on the Saudi-Arabian most-wanted list of terrorists among the 85 sought-after al-Qaida members. Al-Makhlafi´s aliases are given as „Abdul Ghani“ and „Abu Hafs“. He was born in the Saudi captial Riyadh according to the information presented by the Saudi interior ministry. ISAF was on the hunt for Al-Makhlafi for four years.

Arab Jihad Commander Killed in Chechnya

by Florian Flade

Commander Muhannad aka „Abu Anas“

Russia´s National Anti-Terrorist Committee released a statement today saying special forces killed a Saudi al-Qaida terrorist in a raid on Thursday near the Chechen village of Serzhen-Yurt. Authorities claim the killed terrorist – known as Commander Muhannad – was a member of the Caucasus Jihadi leadership and worked as al-Qaida´s emissary to the Chechen rebels.

Meanwhile the „Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus“, the most famous rebel group operating in the North Caucasus, has confirmed the death of Commander Muhannad, praising him as an „Arab volunteer“. Allegedly Muhannad also known as „Abu Anas“ was killed alongside a Ingush national in a firefight with security forcesin Serzhen-Yurt near the village of Avtury.

Commander Muhannad came to Chechnya in 1999 and was one of those foreign fighters trained under the leadership of Emir Khattab. Prior to his time in the Caucasus, the Saudi militant had spent time in Afghanistan, Bosnio, Kosovo and the Philippines, fighting Jihad. In the Caucasus, he was one of several Arab fighters serving first under Emir Khattab, later under his sucsessors Abu Walid and Abu Hafs. Muhannad became Deputy Military leader of the Islamic Emirate in the Causasus in 2007.

To label him a al-Qaida associate because of his Arab origin might be exaggeration. He was one of the last Arab Jihadis fighting against the Russian state and its allies in the Caucasus.