Monday, 15 November 2010

Combing operation in 'triangle of death'

A major anti-terrorism security operation was reported in the media last week. Precise details of the timing of the operation were not given, although we believe that it was in full swing by the middle of this week. The operation appears to be a 'combing operation' of the so-called 'triangle of death' (a much over-used Algerian reference) which extends from the Delis mountains, South-east of Boumerdes, to the borders of Tizi Ouzou, east of Algiers, and from Sidi Bounab and the Mizrana forests to BĂ©jaia.

According to press reports, the security forces believe that they have 500 'terrorists' besieged within this area, including the GSPC/AQIM leader Abdelmalek Droukdel, (alias Abu Mosaab Abdelouadoud).

Although no details of troop numbers have been released, the operation appears to be one of the biggest military offensives against 'terrorists' for some time, and is being led by Generals from the First, Second and Fifth military regions. The aim of the operation is clearly to throw a noose around this extensive area and then draw it tighter. Official sources are quoted as saying that the intention of the military is to capture and arrest 'terrorists' alive, after besieging them and cutting off all communication routes used in supplying them with ammunition and supplies.

How successful the operation will be remains to be seen. The first reports, released we believe on 11th November, are that the combing operation in the Zekri forest, located in Ikourane (Tizi Ouzou) and led by Abdelkader Ben Zekhroufa, Chief of Staff of the First military region, resulted in the elimination of two 'terrorists' after engagements lasting more than six hours.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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