Mokhtar Belmokhtar

The jihadist group Al-Murabitoun claimed that its forces had carried out the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital Friday that has left more than 27 people dead.

“We the Murabitoun, with the participation of our brothers from Al-Qaeda in the Islam Maghreb, claim the hostage-taking operation at the Radisson hotel,” said a man’s voice in an audio recording broadcast by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television.

Al-Murabitoun was founded in 2013 and headed by the 43-year-old Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who has been reported dead several times in recent years, yet attempts on his life appear to have been unsuccessful.

Al-Murabitoun presents itself as the West African branch of Al-Qaeda.

Al-Murabitoun was born of the fusion of Belmokhtar’s Al-Qaeda breakaway group “Signatories in Blood” and MUJAO, one of the jihadist groups that seized northern Mali in early 2012.

“Signatories in Blood” allegedly masterminded the January 2013, siege of an Algerian gas plant in which around 40 hostages, mainly Westerners, were killed.

– AFP

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