KASSERINE: Tunisian security forces have killed a senior member of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who was wanted by Algeria for two and a half decades, officials said.
“A terrorist wanted by Algeria since 1993 was killed in an operation carried out by the Special Unit of the National Guard,” Tunisian interior ministry spokesman Khlifa Chibani said.
A security source said the person killed was Bilel Kobi, an Algerian who was close to the network’s leader Abdelmalek Droukdel.
Kobi had been charged with overseeing links between the network, known by its French initials AQMI, and its Tunisian branch, the official said.
Another Algerian, Bechir Bin Neji, thought to have been the commander of an AQMI cell in the Sammama region of Tunisia, was also found dead with an assault rifle by his side, Chibani said.
The Friday evening operation took place in the Mount Sammama area of central-western Tunisia, which lies in a range of hills that are a favoured hideout of Al Qaeda and IS group jihadists.
Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2018