Al Qaeda-linked militant group in Mali executes British hostage
The killing of Edwin Dyer underscores the growing threat posed by militants in North Africa with links to global terrorist groups.
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Dyer's execution underscored the links that AQIM – also known as Al Qaeda in Islamic North Africa – has to transnational terrorist groups, by putting a notorious figure back into the spotlight: Mr. Qatada, a Jordanian who the British government hopes soon to extradite back to Jordan. The BBC explains:Skip to next paragraph
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Abu Qatada was once described as "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe".
He was granted asylum in the UK in 1994, but went on the run in 2001 on the eve of government moves to introduce new anti-terror laws allowing suspects to be detained without charge or trial.
In October 2002, he was caught and taken to Belmarsh Prison, but was freed on bail in March 2005, subject to a control order.
He was taken back into custody in August that year and held until June 2008. After another short period of freedom, he was detained again in December last year and remains in Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire, pending extradition.
The Christian Science Monitor reported in February on a British court's decision to extradite Qatada to Jordan, where he is wanted on terrorism charges, despite claims that he could face torture there.
Kidnapping is only one form of menace AQIM has inflicted on a growing area across North and West Africa. On Wednesday, Algerian militants carried out of the first attacks against civilians in months, reports the Associated Press.
Al-Qaida-linked militants killed two teachers and eight police escorts as they brought copies of tests back from an examination center near the Algerian capital, a local official and Algerian media said Wednesday....
Algerian militants are a leftover from a near civil war between the government and Islamists that killed up to an estimated 200,000 people during the 1990s.
Most of the violence has since abated, but hard-liners stepped up suicide bombings and attacks after joining Osama bin Laden's terror network in 2006 under the name al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa."
Growing attacks like this have compelled regional governments to "[intensify] security links between themselves," as the World Defense Review details.
In the wake of an AQIM attack on the Mauritanian convoy near Tourine last year, the government of Morocco sent military advisors to Mauritania to provide the government there with training and advice on force protection and patrol tactics. Just last week Mali's President Amadou Toumani Touré called again for regional action against the threat and dispatched his defense minister to confer with Algeria's President Bouteflika, who has dispatched weapons, fuel, and other materiel to his neighbor. Over the weekend, the Malian military deployed three combat units to Kidal, a town on the border with Algeria and Niger, after one of Belmoktar's convoys was spotted in the vicinity.