Al-Qaeda Leader Denies Algeria Attack Plans

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri and his brother Mohammed have denied allegations that they plan to attack Algeria over the Mali war.

al-monitor Mohammed al-Zawahri (C), elder brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, greets Islamic protesters as Egyptian security forces stand guard during a protest against the French operation in Mali outside the French embassy in Cairo, Jan. 18, 2013. Photo by REUTERS/Amr Dalsh.

Topics covered

terrorism, security, mali, french intervention mali, france, ayman al-zawahiri, algeria, al-qaeda in the islamic maghreb (aqim), al-qaeda

Jan 23, 2013

In an exclusive statement to El-Khabar, Mohammed al-Zawahri, founder and leader of the Salafist jihadist group in Egypt, and his brother Ayman al-Zawahri, the al-Qaeda leader, said, “We have not threatened to carry out military operations against Algeria. Such statements are unfounded and fabricated.

“We have made explicit threats against France, which sparked the clashes and killed our Muslim brothers in Mali. We will never consider launching military attacks against Algeria, as we believe Algerians are Muslims and we are well aware that they are not satisfied with their government’s performance,” the statement added.

In addition, the statement urged “all Muslims across the world to support Muslims in Mali, as this is their religious duty as Muslims. Those who refuse to perform such duty are traitors to their religion and homeland.” According to the statement, “France’s actions in Mali are unacceptable.”

The Egyptian al-Watan newspaper published a statement attributed to the leadership of the Egyptian Salafist jihadist movement, which threatened all nations helping France in its war on Mali. “A war will be waged against these nations, if they do not take necessary moves to stop their aggressive leaders.”

The statement that was issued the day before yesterday [Jan. 21] said the Egyptian Salafist jihadist leadership has prepared a list of the countries helping in the attacks against the Islamist groups that control northern Mali. The leadership also threatened to launch war against them.

The Egyptian Salafist leadership classified the nations that helped France in its attack on Mali according to the type of support each nation provided.

It said that Britain and Germany supplied France with aircraft and ammunition. The United Arab Emirates provided funds, while the US, Denmark, Belgium and Russia offered intelligence and logistical support. Algeria and Morocco opened their airspace to the attackers. Meanwhile Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Chad, Niger, Ghana, the Malian Army and the National Movement for the Liberation of Azwad (MNLA) backed the attackers’ ground forces.

Rami Rushdy, an analyst specializing in Islamic groups, said that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) “is mainly based in northern Mali and southern Algeria.”

He confirmed that “al-Qaeda is somehow involved with the Salafist jihadist movement in Egypt, which supplied al-Qaeda with a massive amount of arms during the confrontations with deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Large quantities of weapons were also sent from Libya to al-Qaeda in Mali, while the Salafist jihadist movement in Egypt received arms in Sinai through the coastal road of Marsa Matruh, in the west of Egypt.”

The expert believes that “al-Qaeda in Mali will remain resilient in the war against France, especially since it receives logistical support from its followers in Libya. The organization has enough light and heavy weapons to continue with its fight against France for a long period of time.”

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