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US strike in Libya targets al Qaeda associate Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar

Libya's government has said al Qaeda linked Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar was killed in a US air strike in Libya at the weekend. Belmokhtar masterminded a deadly mass hostage taking in Algeria in January, 2013.

The internationally recognized government in Libya announced on Sunday the death of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the former military commander of al Qaeda in the Magreb. The statement said Belmokhtar was killed in a US air strike.

The US Pentagon said on Sunday that its military had conducted a "counterterrorism strike" on Saturday night against an unnamed al Qaeda-associated militant in Libya.

Belmokhtar masterminded the deadly mass hostage-taking at Algeria's Amenas gas plant in January, 2013.

US Defense Department spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said in a statement on Sunday "We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate."

Belmokhtar has been reported dead on previous occasions.

Japan issued an arrest warrant on June 3 for Belmokhtar. He was also wanted by Algeria and Australia, as well as the US, on terror charges.

jm/bw (Reuters, AFP)

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