Terrorists linked to al Qaeda who attacked a natural gas plant in Algeria last week relied on insiders at the facility as part of the plot, according to a report by an Algerian news outlet.
A report in Ennahar el-Djadid Online, based in Algiers, quoted Mokhtar Belmokhtar — who was identified as the “emir” of the Signed-in-Blood Battalion — as saying he used “former spies” who had been employed on short-term contracts from the British company BP in the attack on the facility.
The insiders worked as drivers, cooks and guards at the gas plant and provided intelligence on the entrances and exits as well as the residence complex, the guard system and details of buildings, the news outlet reported.
The Pentagon has said the attack, which killed some 37 hostages and 29 terrorists, appears to have been an operation of the group al Qaeda in the Ilsamic Maghreb (AQIM), the North African affiliate of the terrorist group.
“When it comes to terrorist attacks of this sort in North Africa, AQIM has to be at the top of the list of suspects, I’ll put it that way,” Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters Tuesday.
Anti-Brotherhood protest set
Opponents of Egypt’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood government are planning a protest this week and are mobilizing forces seeking to oust the administration of President Mohammed Morsi.
The protest is being organized by an informal coalition of opposition groups using Facebook and other social media to mobilize Egyptians for the action.
The opposition is opposing the Muslim Brotherhood and Mr. Morsi, who is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to U.S. officials, more than 50 Facebook pages critical of the Brotherhood have been set up in the past several months.
A key theme of the Facebook protesters is that the Brotherhood is backed by foreign interests, and that Mr. Morsi is an agent of Western powers that seek to destroy Egypt.
According to the protesters’ online postings, demonstrations planned for Thursday are expected to turn out thousands of Egyptians and may spark violence.
The groups opposing the current government include a pro-Egyptian military group and public employees who claim the Brotherhood’s radical policies are harming the economy.
Some opponents alleged that Mr. Morsi was recruited by the CIA while teaching in California and that Egypt has received $1.5 billion in U.S. aid to support American policies.