Mali extremists join with al-Qaida-linked North Africa group
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A leader of al-Qaida’s North Africa group says Islamic extremist group Al-Mourabitoun is joining it, describing the recent attack on a luxury hotel in Bamako as their declaration of unity, an organization that tracks jihadi websites said Friday.
SITE Intelligence Group said al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb leader Abu Musab Abdul Wadud confirmed the unification in an audio speech distributed Thursday.
SITE also said that Al-Mourabitoun later released an audio speech saying the Mali-based group is joining the al-Qaida branch.
Al-Mourabitoun was the first Islamic extremist group to claim responsibility for the Nov. 20 Radisson Blu attack that killed 20 people. It said it worked with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. Other extremist groups also declared responsibility.
Malian authorities said they arrested two men over the attack.
Al-Mourabitoun, or the Sentinels, was formed by Algerian militant Moktar Belmoktar, a former leader in AQIM. It includes nationals from countries across the Sahara.