Libya: US airstrike kills 7 Ansar Al-Sharia terror suspects including Al-Mourabitoun group leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar
In what could be the first extension of the Washington-led air war against terrorists in Syria and Iraq, the US today killed seven leading members of Libya’s Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Al-Sharia in an airstrike on a farm outside Ajdabiya.
One of the victims of the raid, which happened at 2am this morning, was the Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar, former leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) who was accused of organising the January 2013 attack on Algeria’s desert Im-Amenas gas processing plant, in which 39 hostages and an Algerian guard died.
Belmokhtar, 43, also known as Khaled Abou El Abbas or Laaouar, is believed to have survived an assassination attempt in Qasr Ben Gashir last year. He was known to have been in Sirte recently. Last December there was a mystery helicopter attack on a camp near Traghen, south of Sebha which was believed to house militants connected with Belmokhtar.