French, British, Italian and Spanish Special Military Units Established to Target Al-Qaeda in the Sahel
Source: Al Monitor
Four European countries have formed a rapid intervention unit composed of more than 2,000 elite special forces soldiers. The unit is designed to intervene in the Sahel region countries whenever necessary to hunt down al-Qaeda and the Tawhid and Jihad group in West Africa.
Sources familiar with security in the Sahel region told Al-Khabar that more than 800 French, British, Italian and Spanish special forces soldiers performed drills and exercises between February and June 2011 in Haruj and Hamada Ribaniya in central and south Libya. The exercises were to simulate airdrops in the Sahel region.
Drones, attack helicopters and light vehicles were transported to an airstrip near the Libyan city of Zewela and participated in the training exercises. Our sources said that the exercises, which were held in complete secrecy, were witnessed by nomads and oil workers. The available information indicates that the four European countries participating in the exercises allocated about 2,000 soldiers for a rapid intervention plan in the Sahel involving special operations — for which training has been going on for months — designed to eliminate the leaders of al-Qaeda and the Tawhid and Jihad group and to rescue hostages.
In related news, Algerian military units, in collaboration with a group of technical experts and a highly specialized military unit, have for months been tracking the activities of al-Qaeda’s leaders and militants in the Islamic Maghreb and those of Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa. The Algerian anti-terrorist security services have placed those military units at an undisclosed location in the far south of Algeria.
Our sources said: “Algeria will not tolerate the existence of such criminal gangs behind the border.” A source said that the Salafist group in the Sahel has become merely a criminal gang and that soon all its leaders will be eliminated as part of a plan that came into effect a few weeks ago.
Algerian military security services has set up a special branch dedicated to tracking down 100 Algerian terrorists who are considered to be the “brain” of al-Qaeda in Algeria and the Sahel. After the kidnapping of two Algerian diplomats in the city of Gao, security officials decided to set up a special branch to track down Tawhid and Jihad and al-Qaeda in the Sahel, which are being led by the Algerians Jawadi and Soufi, the so-called Kaboun, and Hamoudi Kader, the last being one of Tawhid and Jihad’s leaders and considered a key military commander in the movement and responsible for the Rafla and Tamanrasset bombings.
According to available information, the elite security branches have the finest officers and operate through cells composed of officers and experts. Each cell is tasked with tracking down al-Qaeda in Algeria and the Sahel 24 hours a day by using various information sources such as human trackers and modern electronic eavesdropping devices that were obtained by the army several months ago and that can cover wide areas and locate phone calls. They also make use of unmanned aircraft and other techniques proven to be effective in combating terrorists.
According to a source, the security services have obtained a separate budget for the operation, which began collecting as much public and personal information as possible, even the smallest details, about more than 100 terrorists including Abdelmalek Droukdel and Rashid Abdul Mo’min, who is considered the most dangerous terrorist. Other top terrorists are Jawadi, the leader of al-Qaeda in the desert, and his military chief Soufi. The new security branches have been formed after many Western countries have demonstrated that arresting or killing the leaders of terrorist groups leads to their destabilization and destruction.
With regard to terrorism in the Sahel region, our source revealed that Algerian security began pursuing terrorist groups in northern Mali by making use of very sophisticated techniques and in collaboration with the neighboring countries. Some nomadic tribes have also gotten involved. The most prominent of those tribes are al-Ajwad, Faradi, al-Zaghaymat, and Sassou. These tribes are known to have strong ties to Algeria.
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