Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi) has appointed one of its members to head the terrorist group to replace Abdelmalek Droukdel, killed last June during a French military operation in northern Mali.
The new leader from Algeria is an influential member of Aqmi, named Abu Obaida Yusuf al-Annabi.
He is accused of having participated, in 2007 attacks against official buildings, including police stations in Algiers. Abu Obaida is said to have a degree in Economics.
He has regularly appeared in the group’s propaganda videos, and in 2013 demanded that Muslims retaliate against France’s intervention in Mali.
France has more than 5,000 troops deployed in its “anti-jihadist” Barkhane force in the Sahel.
Abu Obaida was blacklisted by the United States as a terrorist and sentenced to death in absentia by his country’s justice system.