Al-Qaeda commander charged in U.S. over Algeria gas plant attack

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U.S. prosecutors on Friday charged a commander of al Qaeda’s North African operations with participating in an attack on Algeria’s Tiguentourine gas plant in January that killed dozens of workers, including three Americans.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar was charged in an eight-count complaint with conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda, hostage-taking conspiracy, kidnapping of internationally protected persons and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, among other charges.

“Belmokhtar brought terror and blood to these innocent people and now we intend to bring Belmokhtar to justice,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Belmokhtar remains at large, according to the statement.

Belmokhtar is associated with two groups, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, and the Al-Mulathamin Brigade and its recently formed battalion called “The Signers in Blood,” the indictment said.

The gas plant, operated by BP in partnership with Norway’s Statoil and Algeria’s Sonatrach, resumed some production in February.

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