U.S. Airstrikes Kill Al Qaeda Leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, Others In Libya
U.S. airstrikes in Libya have killed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who led the 2013 terrorist attack on an Algerian gas plant that killed at least 38 foreign hostages.
Two Pentagon officials confirm that U.S. airstrikes killed Belmokhtar. The Libyan government also released a statement confirming his death.
Belmokhtar was a leader of al-Qaida’s arm in North Africa, known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. He was notorious for taking hostages, and was one of the first al-Qaida leaders to use ransoms as a way to raise money for terrorism.
The 2013 attack he led on the Amenas gas plant in Algeria lasted for four days. The plant was home to more than 700 Algerian workers and more than 100 foreign workers; when the terrorists seized the plant, they freed hundreds of Algerian workers and targeted the foreign and expat hostages specifically.
Algerian forces raided the plant to try to free the hostages; the militants responded by using hostages as human shields. By the end, 38 foreign hostages, including three Americans, were killed.
In the days after the crisis ended, Belmokhtar claimed responsibility for the attack and said, “We did it for al-Qaida.” More