Algeria’s Defense Ministry has published on its website that it has killed a “terrorist chief” in an ambush in the Kabylie region, around 110 kilometers east of Algiers. The Military stopped short of naming the terrorist chief but described him as a “leading terrorist responsible for many crimes.” Local media has claimed that the militant is Mahmoudi also known as “Le Mancho” who has been fighting since the 1990s.
A weapon, ammunition and mobile phones were also recovered by the military. The Ministry is hoping that the mobile phones will provide valuable information for its fight against terrorism in the region. Violence blamed on Islamists has declined considerably in recent years, but militants who battled the army during the civil war in the 1990s and later formed Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) still operate in the Kabylie area.
The Mountainous regions and the vast Sahara desert has been a safe haven for the terrorists in the North African region. Experts say locals in Algeria’s mountainous regions have increasingly been cooperating with the government to root out the last vestiges of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The mountainous city of Tizi Ouzou were the ambushed was held was also the same city where a French citizen was held hostage by Jund al-Khilafah; a break-away group from al Qaida’s North African branch in recent weeks that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The group has vowed to kill the hostage if France doesn’t stop its airstrikes against the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Algeria has so far killed around 70 Islamists since the beginning of the year in its fight against terrorism. The campaign was intensified after the In Amenas gas plant attack.