Belmoktar gives support to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

An interesting figure has pledged his support for the Muslim Brotherhood / Pro-Mursi contingent in Egypt. In addition to claiming responsibility for the attack on the Amenas gas plant in Algeria this past January, Mokhtar Belmoktar said the reason for the attack was to seek the release of Omar Abdel Rahman (the “Blind Sheikh”). Back in March, evidence surfaced that suggested Belmoktar had a connection to the Benghazi attack on 9/11/12 as well.

Belmoktar pledges support for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

Belmoktar pledges support for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

Via the AP:

The one-eyed terror leader Moktar Belmoktar, considered by many to be the most dangerous man in the Sahara, is now officially joining forces with a Mali-based jihadist group and vowing to support Islamists in Egypt, according to a statement posted Thursday.

A bit later in the AP report:

The militants also urged fellow jihadists to “cooperate against the secular forces who reject all that is Islamist and who have forced the eviction of our Muslim brothers in Egypt.”

Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist who became the country’s first freely elected president, was unseated in a July 3 coup.

Like Belmokhtar, Mursi has long sought the release of the Blind Sheikh. In fact, this interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, in which Mursi again publicly pleaded for the Blind Sheikh’s release, aired barely more than a week before the Amenas hostage crisis began:

As the U.S. State Department, along with Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, continue to call for the release of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners in Egypt, they are finding themselves on the side of common cause with Belmoktar, who is responsible for the murders of three Americans in Algeria, along with 37 other innocents.

Back in March, a CNN report indicated that Belmoktar might have a connection to the Benghazi attack:

Shortly after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi last September, a phone call was placed from the area.

Whoever made the call was excited. “Mabruk, Mabruk!” he repeated, meaning “Congratulations” in Arabic.

Two sources with high-level access to Western intelligence services have told CNN the call was made to a senior figure in al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM. There is no proof that the call was specifically about the attack, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed, but the sources say that is the assumption among those with knowledge of the call.

One of the sources says the phone call was discovered when a Western intelligence service trawled through intercepts of communications made in the wake of the attack. That source told CNN that the call was made specifically to Moktar Belmoktar, leader of an al Qaeda faction based in northern Mali. {emphasis ours}

During the hostage crisis, the New York Times reported that there were Egyptian attackers at Amenas who were also involved in the Benghazi attack:

Several Egyptian members of the squad of militants that lay bloody siege to an Algerian gas complex last week also took part in the deadly attack on the United States Mission in Libya in September, a senior Algerian official said Tuesday.

The Egyptians involved in both attacks were killed by Algerian forces during the four-day ordeal that ended in the deaths of at least 38 hostages and 29 kidnappers, the official said. But three of the militants were captured alive, and one of them described the Egyptians’ role in both assaults under interrogation by the Algerian security services, the official said.

After the Amenas hostage crisis, CNN reported that Belmoktar and another terrorist were engaged in a power struggle, with the former seeking the attention of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda.

If that were true then, it stands to reason it’d be true today. Ayman al-Zawahiri’s brother Mohammed is one of the Islamists who was arrested by the Egyptian military recently.

Like Mursi and Belmoktar, Mohammed al-Zawahiri has also called for the release of the Blind Sheikh.

h/t WZ

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