Who is Abou Talha, killed in Egyptian airstrikes over Derna?



Mon, 29 May 2017 - 01:20 GMT


Mon, 29 May 2017 - 01:20 GMT

Abou Talha

Abou Talha

CAIRO – 28 May 2017: The Egyptian Air Force has reportedly killed the militant leader Abdel-Moniem Salem in airstrikes carried out across the border on Friday. Known as Abou Talha, the Libyan fighter was a former commander in the Shoura Council of Mujahideen affiliated to Al-Qaeda in Derna, Libya, according to an official Libyan news agency citing social media pages linked to local terrorist groups.

In conjunction with the Libyan Air Force, Egypt carried out air strikes against militants in Derna, east Libya, stating that they targeted the group responsible for a deadly attack on Coptic Christians in Minya on Friday.

Abou Talha was an Al-Qaeda commander in Libya and a former member of the Islamic State (IS) fighting group. He came to prominence after his participation in a number of Al-Qaeda attacks in Afghanistan.

He returned to Libya in the 1990s and was imprisoned in the top-security Abu Salim prison in 1996 on charges of his affiliation to Al-Qaeda and his involvement in an assassination plot against the late Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The Libyan Army previously declared the death of Abou Talha following a military operation against terrorist groups in the country in 2014. However, Abou Talha appeared in a video recording with the Libyan terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia a few months later, calling Muslims to unite for jihad.

Abou Talha was accused of carrying out the attack that rocked the city of Al Qubbah in eastern Libya in 2015 in which 127 civilians were killed. Three suicide bombings targeted Al Qubbah city police station, a gas station and the home of the Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aquila Saleh Issa.

Abou Talha was known to have strong relations with the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) Mokhtar Belmokhtar who was declared by U.S. officials as dead in 2015, although later proved to be still at large.

In 2013, Abou Talha fled to Syria where he became a commander of the Muhajireen Brigade, a group comprised of foreign elements fighting against the Syrian regime that elements of later joined the IS terrorist group.

Abou Talha did not remain in Syria for a long time, prompted by losses incurred by militants there. He returned to Libya in 2014 when the domestic security situation deteriorated as a result of the civil war.

Following his death, Abou Talha’s body was moved to a Libyan hospital amid tight security by Al-Qaeda militants after Egyptian Air Forces raided the terrorist group’s base.



Leave a Comment

Be Social