Algeria: Three terrorists eliminated in El Oued and seizure of a significant amount of heavy weapons
A significant counter-terrorism operation took place on March 10 in the Guemar region between the communes of Ourmas and Kouinine, El Oued province. Combined units of the National Gendarmerie and the army (ANP) managed around 9:00 PM local time to kill three terrorists classified as dangerous, the first named as A. Kamel also known as ‘Abderahmane’ according to the Ministry of National Defense. The Algerian news outlet elwatan.com reported A. Kamel’s full name as Kamel Arabiya alias ‘Abou Hatim’, ‘emir’ of AQIM’s Katiba El Feth el Moubine and former Afghanistan veteran who joined terrorist groups back in 1994 in the southeastern region of the country, the two others are named as C. Thamer ‘El Abbes’ and A. Abdelhak.
The operation also resulted in the seizure of a significant amount of weapons including MANPADS of type Stinger (this information has been revised since the Algerian MOD initially reported this fact erroneously). The complete list of arms seized is as following:
6 surface-to-air/anti aircraft missile systems (MANPADS) of type Stinger (these have later been identified as 5 anti-tank rocket launchers of type RPG-27 and 1 thermobaric rocket launcher of type RPO-A Shmel)
20 assault rifles of type Kalashnikov
3 RPG-7 rocket launchers
16 RPG-7 rockets
2 machine guns of type RPK
2 sniper rifles
2 automatic handguns
2 explosive belts
383 ammunition cartridges of different calibers
97 ammunition magazines
1 all-terrain vehicle of type Toyota Hilux Double-Cab
2 pairs of binoculars
2 GPS devices
Mobile phones and other objects
As stated already some information was erroneously reported by the Algerian Ministry of National Defense claiming that shoulder fired rocket launchers were Stinger MANPADS, which was not the case, and instead five anti-tank rocket launchers of type RPG-27 and one thermobaric rocket launcher of type RPO-A Shmel. Still the result of this counter-terrorism operation and the seizure is important and also indicate a flow of arms along the east-west axis i.e. from Libya to Algeria and not as the more regular route with arms introduced along the south-north axis i.e. from Mali to Algeria.
With the release of a new communiqué on March 12 by the Ministry of National Defense, additional weapons were added to the list of weapons seized in connection to the event in El Oued, consisting of a machine gun of type FMPK, 17 RPG-7 rockets/grenades and a ammunition magazine for Kalashnikovs.