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Mokhtar Belmokhtar is the leader and the founder of the Khaled Abu al-Abbas Brigade (also known as the Signed-in-Blood Battalion). Under Belmokhtar’s command, the Brigade, which is part of his al-Mulathamun Battalion, conducted a deadly attack in January 2013 on a gas facility in In-Amenas, Algeria. At least 37 hostages—including American citizens Frederick Buttacio, Victor Lynn Lovelady, and Gordon Lee Rowan—were killed in the four-day siege of the complex.
Prior to his founding of the Khaled Abu al-Abbas Brigade, Belmokhtar was a senior commander in the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). In this position, Belmokhtar conducted numerous kidnapping operations against Westerners, acquired weapons for use in terrorist attacks, and was involved in various negotiations for hostages taken by AQIM. Belmokhtar, a former Algerian soldier, was trained in camps in Afghanistan.
In June 2004, a tribunal in Algeria sentenced Belmokhtar in absentia to life in prison for forming terrorist groups, robbery, and use of illegal weapons. In March 2007, an Algerian court sentenced Belmokhtar to death in absentia. The U.S. Department of Treasury designated Belmokhtar pursuant to Executive Order 13224 on October 24, 2003; and on November 11, 2003, the United Nations listed Belmokhtar pursuant to paragraphs 1 and 2 of Resolution 1390 (2002).