The group responsible for the raid on a natural gas field in eastern Algeria has demanded the release of two well-known jihadists: Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (a.k.a. the “Blind Sheikh”) and Aafia Siddiqui (a.k.a. “Lady Al Qaeda”).
Several months before his death in May 2011, Osama bin Laden ordered al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to stand down with respect to hostage negotiations. The terror master said he would negotiate with France concerning AQIM’s hostages. Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s spokesman recently confirmed that he still answers to al Qaeda central.