Al-Mourabitoun is headed by infamous former al-Qaeda terrorist

Al-Mourabitoun is headed by infamous former al-Qaeda terrorist

A terrorist organisation with links to al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack on a luxury hotel in the Malian capital Bamako.

Al-Mourabitoun, a group based in northern Mali, says it carried out the armed assault on the Radisson Blu hotel, taking 170 guests and staff hostage.

In a recorded statement carried by Al-Jazeera, the group said it wanted fighters freed from Mali’s prisons and for attacks against northern Malians to stop.

The group, known as the Mourabitounes, was formed in 2013 after Moktar Belmoktar left al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and fused with a Malian militant group.

The statement issued on Friday said the Mourabitounes had attacked in co-ordination with the “Sahara Emirate” affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The Al-Mourabitoun group first pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) in 2013, but renounced its pledge less than 24 hours later, reports Newsweek.

The group has been behind several attacks against Western interests in the Sahel region, including a previous hotel siege in central Mali that killed 17 people.

Belmokhtar, who was the military commander of al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, became one of the globe’s most wanted after he masterminded an attack on an Algerian gas plant in 2013 that killed 39 workers, six of them Brits.

It was thought he died in an air strike in June but his death has been announced several times – the most recent, on Algerian TV last month, was thought to be credible though unconfirmed, reports the Mirror.

America has offered a $5 million reward for the capture of Belmokhtar.

Source: News AU