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Entries in Mokhtar Belmokhtar (4)


Algeria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: At Least 81 Killed in Gas Plant Siege

See also Syria Live Coverage: The Battle for Idlib Begins?
Sunday's Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: Gas Plant Siege Ends with 23 Hostages, 32 Attackers Killed

1652 GMT: Yemen. A US drone strike has killed two suspected insurgents and wounded three others, two of them seriously, according to security officials.

The airstrike, which hit a car east of the capital Sanaa, was the third in the same area since Saturday and the 25th in Yemen since 24 December.

On Saturday, two drone strikes killed eight people in Marib Province.

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Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: Hostage Situation Continues at Gas Plant

See also Mali, Algeria, and Beyond: A Beginner's Guide to the Bad Guys
Turkey Feature: 10,000s in Funeral Ceremony for Kurdish Activists "Peace Now!"
Syria Live Coverage: UN Human Rights Chief Calls for War Crimes Investigation
Friday's Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: At Least 30 Hostages Killed in Rescue Attempt

1435 GMT: Egypt. A criminal court has invoked a Presidential amnesty and dismissed charges against 379 people accused of taking part in clashes with police.

Almost weeks of street fighting on downtown Cairo's Mohammed Mahmoud Street in November 2011 killed 42 people, most of them slain by security forces. The demonstrators were demanding a timetable for a military Supreme Council to hand over power and hold Presidential elections.

1425 GMT: Algeria. Seven foreign hostages have reportedly been killed in the final operation by Algerian forces against the kidnappers, 11 of whom were slain.

1340 GMT: Algeria. Algerian State media is reporting that the hostage crisis is over at the In Amenas gas plant, with 11 attackers killed by Algerian forces.

The reports claims that 16 foreign hostages --- including two Americans, two German, and a Portuguese ---- have been freed.

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Mali, Algeria, and Beyond: A Beginner's Guide to the Bad Guys (Karl reMarks)

Mokhtar Belmokthar, a.k.a., Mr MarlboroMokhtar Belmokhtar --- The Masked Ones 

Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s name is a subtle nod towards Jean Valjean, the central character in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. (Al-Qaeda’s dalliance with symbolism is legendary.) Belmokhtar is believed to be responsible for the recent hostage-taking operation in Algeria.

The one-eyed Islamist is also known as Mr Marlboro and The Uncatchable. His group, The Masked Ones, go under various names including Khaled Abul Abbas Brigade and The Blood Battalion. 

The nickname Mr Marlboro comes from Belmokhtar’s cigarette smuggling activity. Other al-Qaeda groups have banned smoking in the areas they control. According to experts, this shows that al-Qaeda is learning from the European governments when it comes to implementing contradictory but lucrative tobacco policies.

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Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: France Prepares Ground Operations While Insurgents Seize 41 Foreigners in Algeria

2126 GMT: Algeria. Algerian State Television has confirmed that at least four foreigners have been killed into today's attempted hostage rescue:

Two of the victims were Britons and the other two Filipinos, the report said after the end of the operation was announced late on Thursday.

Communication Minister Mohamed Said said earlier that troops had been forced to act after talks with the kidnappers failed.

He said many fighters had been killed in the operation at the In Amenas gas field.

Sources for Reuters report that the death toll may be much higher:

Quoting an unnamed Algerian security source, Reuters reports that 30 hostages were killed in the gas plant attack, including 7 foreigners. The report does not give the nationalities of the foreigners who died.

Eleven militants from six different countries – including one from France – also were killed, the report says. The militants' nationalities were given as 3 Egyptians, 2 Algerians, 2 Tunisians, 2 Libyans a Frenchman and a Malian.

Meanwhile, David Cameron has cancelled a planned speech, but did say that the UK needs to be "prepared for the possibility of further bad news."

1814 GMT: Algeria. A summary of the press conference at the US State Department:

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