Magharebia (Washington DC)

Algeria: Local Attack Mastermind Releases Video

Forty fighters "from different Islamic and even European countries" participated in the deadly In Amenas terror attack, mastermind Mokhtar Belmokhtar said in a video published Sunday (January 20th) by Mauritanian website Sahara Media.

The Algerian terrorist known as "Laaouar" said he was speaking in the name of the "mother" outfit, or al-Qaeda, AFP reported.

He said he would be ready to "negotiate" with Western countries if the French-led offensive against al-Qaeda in Mali were to end.

The former al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) emir's "Battalion of the Masked" committed the January 16th attack on the Sonatrach-BP-Statoil facility in Tiguentourine.

At least 32 kidnappers were killed in the stand-off before Algerian forces freed 685 Algerian workers and 107 foreigners, the interior ministry said.

Algerian forces found the bodies of 25 hostages as they combed the In Amenas gas complex on Sunday.

During an inspection of the site, Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi said that Algeria would "secure its energy facilities", APS reported.

Workers had returned to the facility and were preparing to resume production operations, the minister said.

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