Identikit of the new leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

Al-Qaeda

Abu Obeida Yousef Al-Annabi, the second man in the terrorist organization Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, succeeded to AbdelMalek Droukdel. The leader of the group was killed by the French army last June while he was instigating the targeting of French interests in the Sahel and Libya in response to its military support allegations.

French and American forces in northern Mali killed the leader of the AQIM in an airstrike. The Algerian terrorist Mubarak Yazid, called Abu Obeida Youssef Al-Annabi, was appointed as the emir of the organization five months later. A large number of fighters joined the jihadist cell in the Sahel region, also known as the group for the Support of Islam and Muslims on the Coast.

The terrorist activity of Al-Annabi

On Saturday, November 21, the American “SITE,” specialized in extremist movements, announced that it had received a videotape confirming the appointment of the new terrorist. Annabi, 51, has been head of the Senate, the directing body of Al-Qaeda, since 2011. Since the year 2010, he has incited the youth of the Sahel and Sahara to join what he calls a jihad against France.

On April 25, 2013, in reaction to the French military intervention in Mali, he called on Muslims around the world to attack French interests everywhere, because, since the first day of the aggression, they became legitimate targets, as the Muslim Brotherhood organization claimed. In January 2016, he again threatened the French forces in Benghazi while urging the Libyans to fight against the General Command forces led by Marshall Khalifa Haftar.

He renewed his attack on the French presence in the Sahel region in an interview with “France 24” in May 2019.After the organization called to internationalize jihad, the United States placed it on the blacklist of international terrorists in September 2015. Then, in February 2016, the United Nations Security Council included AQIM on the list of persons and entities targeted by sanctions for their participation in financing, organizing, facilitating, preparing, or committing terrorist acts or activities.

The origin

His alias “Annabi” goes back to his roots in the Algerian city of Annaba, where he was involved since the 1990s in terrorist acts of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat during the so-called black decade. According to the American Center for Combating Extremism, Annabi had the same works within the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat before it took the name of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb in 2007.

Two years later, in November 2009, he escaped a certain death during an ambush by the Algerian army in Bouzguin, in the Kabyle region. According to anti-terrorism experts, Annabi was the second man in the organization in competition with Droukdel. His call to expand jihad in the Sahara and the Sahel in 2010 was, according to some analysts, a sign of an attempt to seize the leadership. While the open war between Al Qaeda and Daesh probably will continue in the region, after fierce battles between them, which resulted in hundreds of deaths.

The repercussions of the French deal

The new development comes after the continuing repercussions of a French deal with Al Qaeda, according to which more than 200 terrorists were released last September, and a ransom of nine million euros to a militant group for the release of three European hostages.

Algerian security forces arrested one of the militants, but they released him as part of the deal. In a video recording published by the Algerian Ministry of Defense, he said that he is sending a message to the group of Algerians who are still in northern Mali to return to their home country, Algeria.

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