First Published: 2013-01-21


Qaeda Islamists behind Algeria attack vow more attacks


Stern warning appears to be targeted at France as well as nine African nations that have pledged troops to join Mali campaign.


Middle East Online

Belmokhtar masterminded attack but did not participate

NOUAKCHOTT - An Al-Qaeda-linked group which shocked the world with its audacious hostage attack in Algeria threatened on Sunday to stage strikes on nations involved in chasing out Islamists from neighbouring Mali.

The stern warning, published by the Mauritanian news agency ANI, appeared to be targeted at France -- which is leading the offensive in Mali against jihadists occupying the north -- as well as nine African nations that have pledged troops to join the campaign, and anyone else helping out.

"We promise more operations in all the countries which have taken part in the crusade against Azawad if they do not review their decision," the "Signatories in Blood" group said in a statement, referring to northern Mali.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed Islamist who formed his own brigade after a series of bitter feuds saw him cut ties with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, masterminded the attack on an Algerian gas plant that ended in scores dying.

"We remind our Muslim brothers of the need to clear out from sites run by foreign companies, especially the French ones, to save their lives," the statement said.

The group said it had tried to negotiate with the Algerian army to seek an "immediate end to the aggression against Muslims in Mali and the liberation of our brothers being held by the crusaders."

It added: "But the Algerian army did not respond, ... preferring to stage an attack which led to the elimination of the hostages."

Islamist militants and Tuareg separatist groups seized Mali's vast desert north in March last year. The two sides then had a falling out and the Islamists have since gained the upper hand.

France has been leading a military campaign in Mali for over a week to halt the Islamists' push southwards into government-controlled territory.


Corbyn criticised over Syria air strike rejection

Turkey protests against journalist arrests

Turkey seeks to ease tensions with Moscow

Tunisia to rethink anti-IS strategy

Saudi women begin first-ever election campaign

Russia prepares retaliation against Turkey

Cameron pushes for Britain to join Syria air strikes

Erdogan denies buying oil from IS

Lavrov says no war with Turkey after 'planned provocation'

Tunisia under state of emergency

Missing Iranian diplomat found dead in Saudi

Heavy Russia raids at site of Syria plane crash

Tunisia declares state of emergency after terrorist attack in heart of capital

Bahrain calls HRW torture report 'misleading'

Syria, Russia foreign ministers set Moscow talks

Rival Libya tribes sign peace deal to end months of fighting

Turkey reveals new cabinet of Erdogan allies

Turkey downs Russia Su-24 fighter jet on Syria border

Hopes fade away as Sudan peace talks break without deal

At least 6 dead in Libya bomb attack

Somali pirates seize Iran fishing boat with 15 crew

ISIS suicide bombers kill four in assault on Sinai hotel

Kerry visits Israel with scant hopes for major breakthrough

Hollande heads to Washington to seek support for war on ISIS

Brussels extends terror alert as US issues worldwide travel warning

UAE blames Islamists for delay in military operation in Taez

Egypt kills 5 Sudanese migrants near border with Israel

Anti-Muslim hate crimes rise 300 percent in Britain

Russia eases restrictions on nuclear cooperation with Iran

Gulf leaders to hold annual summit on December 10

Ex-Gathafi Minister arrested over murder of UK policewoman

UK boosts military spending as pressure grows to join anti-ISIS strikes

Israel bars Palestinians from West Bank settlement bloc

Iraq suspends northern flights due to danger posed by Russia missiles

Syria army advances against ISIS in central province of Homs

Pro-Kurdish leader escapes assassination attempt in Turkey

Tunisia group claims beheading of young shepherd on behalf of ISIS

Kerry arrives in Abu Dhabi for Syria discussions

Three Palestinians killed as fresh violence hits West Bank

Iran arrests ISIS-linked cell near Iraq border

Brussels remains on high alert for second day in a row

Israel seeks to strip citizenship of those who join ISIS

France warns Libya as ISIS gains ground

Fear escalates as ISIS edges closer to Syria Christian town

Iran sentences reporter Jason Rezaian to prison