Algeria kills leading Islamic militant
Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
CAIRO —Algeria has reported the first significant achievement in
its campaign to target Islamic insurgency leaders.
Algerian security sources said the military killed a leader of the
Salafist Brigade for Combat and Call. The group, led by Hassan Khatib, is
regarded as the most powerful of the insurgency groups in Algeria and was
said to have killed 49 soldiers in two ambushes a month ago.
The sources said a military force killed Mohammed Lunis, responsible for
international relations for the Salafist group. Lunis, known by his nomme de
guerre, Yusef Abu Basir, was said to have been the Salafist liasion with Al
Qaida and helped obtain funds for weapons and logistics from Islamic
supporters in Germany.
Lunis, 31, was killed in a military search-and-destroy operation about
50 kilometers east of Algiers. The operation, composed of troops and armored
vehicles, took place on early Sunday and was the result of intelligence
information that a Salafist force was in the area.
This is the first time Algeria's military killed a leading Salafist
since 1999. Algeria's military has been searching for Khattab and key aides
for the last year.
Lunis joined the Islamic insurgency war against Algiers in 1993, months
after the regime cancelled national elections. In 1998, Lunis moved from the
Armed Islamic Group to the Salafist organization.