Algerian Islamist leader with ties to Al Qaeda killed in sweep
A "terror" leader who allied himself with Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden has been killed in a military sweep, Algerian newspapers said Sunday.
The official APS news agency reported Saturday night that seven Islamists were killed Thursday and Friday in the Kabylie region, but did not identify them. However, El Khabar newspaper reported that eight Islamists were killed in the military sweep.
If confirmed, Sahraoui's death would mark a major victory in the Algerian government's efforts to suppress armed Islamic oppostion.
Sahraoui took over leadership of the group, known by its French acronym GSPC, last year and declared its allegiance with al Qaeda in September.
Newspapers said Sahraoui and his right-hand man known as "Okacha le para" were killed Thursday or Friday in an operation launched two weeks ago by the Algerian army after an attack by Islamists killed about 10 soldiers.
In the meantime, there was no official confirmation from Algerian authorities of the reported death of Nabil Sahraoui, head of the armed Salafist Group for Call and Combat whose decade-long aim has been to overthrow the Algerian government.
Official radio, for its part, said Sunday that the Algerian army had killed seven gunmen in its crackdown on north Africa's most active group, blamed for killing more than a dozen soldiers in recent weeks.
The report said three gunmen were killed on Thursday and four on Friday near the coastal city of Bejaia, some 100 kilometers east of the capital Algiers. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)