An Israeli man who disappeared in Algeria nearly a week ago may have been kidnapped by Al Qaeda’s North African wing, an Arabic daily said.
Asharq al-Awsat, citing what it described as “informed sources”, said the Israeli man entered Algeria with a Spanish passport and disappeared in Hassi Messaoud, 800 km (500 miles) south of the capital Algiers.
News of the possible kidnapping comes a day after Osama bin Laden threatened Qaeda would kill any Americans it takes prisoner if accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is put to death.
“Investigators think it is likely that he was kidnapped by the al Qaeda in the Islamist Maghreb (AQIM),” the newspaper quoted the sources as saying.
“It is unclear so far whether the Israeli is dual-national or his Spanish passport was forged. It is also unclear why he was in the desert and how he entered the country.”
Western countries say that unless the region’s fractious governments join forces to fight the insurgents, al Qaeda could turn the Sahara desert into a safe haven along the lines of Yemen and Somalia and use it to launch large-scale attacks.
Pic: Al Qaeda leader- Osama Bin Laden