PARIS MATCH (France), REUTERS
PARIS – The Islamist militant group behind the deadly hostage crisis at an Algerian gas plant that killed dozens of foreigners last week has threatened to carry out new attacks, especially against France.
In a phone call to French weekly magazine Paris Match, a spokesman for Mokhtar Belmokhtar – the man behind the terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas plant that killed an estimated 38 foreigners and one Algerian worker according to Reuters – said the operation had been "90% successful, because with only 40 men, we managed to hit a strategic site guarded by 800 soldiers."
The spokesman, who called himself Joulaybib, but whom Paris Match identified as Hacen Ould Khalil, Belmokhtar’s right-hand man, warned: "I hope France realizes that there are going to be dozens of Mohammed Merahs and Khaled Kelkals."
Mohammed Merah was a French Al-Qaeda sympathiser who killed seven people in the southern city of Toulouse last year; Khaled Kelkal was an Algerian terrorist involved in a series of terror bombings in France in the 1990s.
"The attack in In Amenas is only the beginning," Joulaybib added.
Paris Match also reports that the spokesman claimed his group contacted the French authorities for negotiations even before the Algerian army launched an assault on the facility – a fact that France denies.