Mokhtar Belmokhtar Charged by FBI for Deadly Gas Plant Attack in Algeria

July 19, 2013 3:22 pm Last Updated: July 18, 2015 5:19 pm

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a head of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has been charged for his role in a terror attack in Algeria in January, the FBI’s New York office said Friday. 

He was charged with the gas facility attack in southern Algeria that left 35 hostages dead, including three Americans, the FBI said.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “As alleged, Mokhtar Belmokhtar unleashed a reign of terror years ago, in furtherance of his self-proclaimed goal of waging bloody jihad against the West. His efforts culminated in a five-day siege that left dozens dead, including three Americans, and hundreds of others fearing for their lives, as the amended complaint describes,” according to a press release.

He was charged with eight counts for various offenses, including conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda and AQIM, hostage-taking conspiracy, kidnapping of internationally protected persons, and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, the FBI said.

He remains at large.

As head of AQIM, Belmokhtar has in the past been accused of kidnapping, weapons smuggling, and dealing weapons.

He is also accused of terrorism and murder by Algerian officials.

The Chadian army said its forces killed him earlier this year, but the U.S. government offered a $5 million reward for his capture in early July, according to ABC News.

Belmokhtar  is missing an eye and has been called “Mr. Marlboro” due to his cigarette-smuggling operation in the region.