In exchange for the release of dozens of imprisoned members from Mali’s prisons, Al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) has freed four hostages, three of them foreign. JNIM has since celebrated the prisoner swap, including a personal appearance by its overall emir, Iyad Ag Ghaly, in northern Mali.
Senior U.S. officials claim there are fewer than 200 al Qaeda members in Afghanistan. Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn explain why that estimate, like all others before it, isn’t credible.
AQIM has released an audio message confirming the death of its longtime emir, Abdulmalek Droukdel.
French and American officials say the emir of AQIM, Abdelmalek Droukdel (a.k.a. Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud), was killed in a counterterrorism operation in northern Mali on June 3. The U.S. military supported the French-led operation.
Al Qaeda’s branch in West Africa, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, has released a statement saying it is willing to meet with the Malian government — but only after French and allied forces withdraw from the area.
Al-Qaeda’s senior leadership released a statement praising the jihadists in Mali and elsewhere in Western Africa for confronting the “Crusaders.” Al-Qaeda’s management team encourages them to dismantle the “French and American project” across the region.
Abu Abdul Rahman al Sanhaji’s death, if confirmed, follows the death of several other high-profile JNIM leaders over the past two years.
The photo marks the first sign of life for the group since 2017 and the first official publication since 2015.