Move over, Mullah Dadullah.
The State Department says the Africa-based Murabitoun terror group, led by Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar, poses the “greatest near-term threat to U.S. and Western interests” in the Sahel region of Africa, The New York Times reported.
Belmokhtar is described as “adventurous,” “reckless” and with a “penchant for carrying out headline-grabbing attacks against Western interests,” according to the Times.
The notorious Belmokhtar who lost an eye to shrapnel, fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan and returned to Algeria in the 1990s where he became a leader of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
He broke with the al-Qaida affiliate in 2012 to form the Mulathameen Battalion. Over the years, Belmokhtar has been behind the kidnapping of a Canadian diplomat, the attack on an Algerian gas plant that killed 38 civilians, among them three Americans, and other deadly attacks in Mali and Niger.
This new Al Murabitoun group “concerns us more than any in the region,” a State Department source told the Times.
No decision on targeting Belmokhtar militarily has yet been made by the Obama administration, the Times reported.
Meanwhile, Fox News reported that the reward for Belmokhtar stands at $5 million. His precise whereabouts are not known.
How much for his other eye?
PS: Do he and Mullah Omar share a pair of sunglasses?