- Algerian security forces have killed a leading Al Qaeda member, Abu Harith Al Libya, during a clash with the forces in the southern part of the country in Tanan, near the Algerian border with Mali, local media has reported.
Mr Al Libya reportedly a commander of the Al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) who is believed to be a Libyan, is one of the leading officials in the Al Qaeda’s strong holds in north Africa.
Local reports stated that during the clash, another AQIM operative was also killed in Tanan, further saying Algerian special forces spotted a suspected AQIM squad amid the state of alert along the Algerian-Mali border.
Algerian security forces have been on high alert amid AQIM's threat to kill a British national kidnapped by mid-May if a leading Al Qaeda operative, Abu Qatada, held in Britain is not released and set for extradition to Jordan.
Since Mali announced the arrest of four Algerians said to work for AQIM, it has come under African and Western pressure to launch a crackdown on the Islamic insurgency in the wake of AQIM's abduction of westerners in late 2008 and early 2009.
Meanwhile, international experts on al-Qaeda said the terrorist movement has been diminishing in the North Africa base of Algeria since the mid 1990’s.
Al-Qaeda has been trying to use Algeria as a base to set up a North African network, but has failed due to Algerian Islamists who are reportedly more focused on fighting Algeria's military rulers who aborted elections in 1992.
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