Death of Algerian militant denied
(MENAFN- Gulf Times) A Libyan militant group denied yesterday that Al Qaeda-linked militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar-the man behind multiple deadly attacks with a history of coming back from the dead-was killed in a US air strike.
Ansar al-Shariah named seven people it said were killed in the US strike in eastern Libya but Belmokhtar, who Washington has said was the target, was not among them.
"No other person was killed," the group, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations, said in a statement.
Belmokhtar, an Algerian nicknamed variously as "The Uncatchable", "Mr Marlboro" and "The One-Eyed", is leader of the North African Al-Murabitoun militant group and a former chief of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
He allegedly masterminded the 2013 siege of an Algerian gas plant in which 38 hostages, mostly Westerners, were killed.
Libya's internationally recognised government claimed on Sunday that Belmokhtar-who has been reported dead on several previous occasions-was killed in the strike.
The Pentagon had itself been noncommittal about whether the strike by two F-15 Strike Eagle fighter jets armed with 500-pound bombs had succeeded in killing its target.
US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said: "The actual impact of that raid is still being assessed."
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