You are not in a James Bond movie: this drama is reality. No 007 around in Mali.
The attack on a hotel in Mali November 20, 2015, was masterminded by the one-eyed Mokhtar Belmokhtar (picture on top), the most dangerous terrorist in this region. He is the boss of the al-Murabitua terror group based in Mali.
He is active as a terrorist, kidnapper, smuggler and weapons dealer.
This top terrorist in North West Africa was born 1st June 1972 in Algeria.
He has many names including The One-Eyed, Abu Khaled, The Uncatchable, Mr. Marlboro, The Prince, MBM, al-Aouer, or Bal’ur Laaouar.
The unique career as the terror-prince of darkness started in 1991 when he joined the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan. This was also where he lost one eye.
He later joined the GIA terror group, fighting in the brutal Algerian civil war.
After that he was promoted to commander in the Mali-based Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
In 2012 he started his own terror-organization, the so called “Masked” Brigade”, also known as the al-Mua’qi’oon Biddam (“Those who Sign with Blood”).
Only a year later his Brigade took more than 800 people hostage at the Tigantourine gas facility in Algeria. 39 hostages were executed and one Algerian killed before the facility was recaptured by Algerian forces, who killed 29 members of the group.
He was twice convicted and sentenced to death in absentia under separate charges in Algerian courts: in 2007 for terrorism and in 2008 for murder; in 2004 he was also sentenced to life imprisonment in Algeria for terrorist activities.
There were reports he was killed in 2013. But two months later, Belmokhtar claimed responsibility for two suicide truck bombings at a French-owned uranium mine in Arlit, Niger, and at a military base 150 miles away in Agadez.
Special forces, supported by U.S. and French specialists, rescued 143 hostages. 27 died in the latest attack.
In the morning shots have been fired and many hostages taken inside the Radisson Blue Hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako.
The Western African country had been a French colony with strong ties to Paris still.
The 3-10 attackers had arrived in diplomatic vehicles.They were shouting: “God is great!” in Arabic. Some hostages who could recite verses of the Qur’an, were released.
The terrorists had taken 170 hostages, 140 guests and 30 employees.
Among them were 20 Indians, six U.S. citizens, seven tourists from China, 12 crew members of Air France and six from Turkish Airlines, two Germans, a delegation from France as well as French military advisors, seven from Algeria, two Russians and other foreigners.
The US-owned hotel is popular with expats working in Mali.
Already in 2013, terrorists killed 13 people in an attack on a hotel in the Mali town of Sévaré. Five UN staff were among the victims.
In 2013 French military forces had stopped the expansion of radical Islamist militias.
The European Union is engaged in a training mission with Mali’s military personal, including soldiers of the German Bundeswehr.
Mali, a majority-Muslim nation of 17 million people, became independent in 1960.