The al-Qaeda mastermind that led the operation to kidnap hostages in the Algerian desert has been exposed when Al Arabiya sources obtained an earlier interview of him.
The hostages’ operation architect, Mohammed Lamin Bin Shanab, was announced dead by the Algerian government during the national army’s final attack against the terrorist group.
“The Algerian forces have killed Mohammed Lamin Bin Shanab when he attempted to escape from In Amenas during the army’s final attack to free the captives,” Prime Minister Abdulmalik Salal said.
In Algeria’s southeastern In Amenas state, 37 hostages, hailing from eight different countries, were killed by the militants, Salal said Monday. However, according to media reports, there were at least 80 people who are said to have been killed during the four-day hostage crisis.
During his 21-minute interview, Bin Shanab admitted previous terrorist operations his organization has executed in an attempt to send a clear message to Algerian leaders.
“We have executed an operation last year, and I remember at the time, it was evening time in a remote area. We didn't see any resistance. We hit gas tankers with mortars, and we left.”
He confirmed that “the message of the [hostage] operation is the same as the airport operation.” In 2007, militants attacked a military airport in Jant city that allegedly destroyed 3 military aircrafts.
Like other Qaeda members, Bin Shanab expressed his rejection of democracy in the interview, saying that it only exists to “serve interest of some figures and countries.”
Algeria handed him a death sentence in absentia for cooperating with Mulathameen Brigade, a Qaeda affiliated militia group operating in Algeria.
According to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, the Mulathameen Brigade was the one that captured foreign workers at the In Amenas gas plant.
His brother, Yousef, who is also involved in militant work, has also been given a death sentence in absentia.
Qaeda man behind Algeria’s hostage crisis exposed in an interview