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A Greek among the Islamist militants, who attacked the gas complex in Algeria

03 April 2013 / 14:04:53  GRReporter
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A young man of Greek origin, born and raised in Canada, was one of the two suicide bombers who blew themselves up in an oil base in Algeria three months ago.

According to the revelations of the Canadian public television CBC, the young man is Christos Katsiroumbas, aged 24, from the small town of London in the region of Ontario. The young man, who had converted to Islam, was one of the 32 people who held hostage the workers of the oil refinery in the region of In Amenas for 4 days.

In his report, leading journalist Greg Weston refers to anonymous sources who state that Katsiroumbas and the other attacker blew themselves up during the great explosion that killed the last ten hostages.

The journalist states that Christos Katsiroumbas was precisely the attacker described by the surviving hostages as a "blond man who spoke English with a North American accent."

The other man who had blown himself up was Ali Medlezh, a Canadian of Arab origin and a former classmate of Christos. According to sources cited by the CBC, at least two more of their classmates travelled abroad with them about a year ago.

According to the latest report by the television channel, the Islamist group involved another Canadian citizen of Korean origin named Aaron Yun, also a classmate of the two young men.

Christos’ family refused to make any statements. "He came from an Orthodox family, but he had converted to Islam in recent years. He was very close friends with the other boy and lived in Ontario," a member of the Greek community in the small town of London told Ethnos newspaper.

Others of Christos’ classmates describe him as a completely ordinary boy who had converted to Islam at some point. According to them, Christos and Ali left school in 2007. Christos did not finish secondary school. He completely changed after his conversion to Islam.

An earlier friend of his says, "He was very smart and active at school." He lived with his mother in a house with a swimming pool located in a middle-class suburb in the Canadian town and he had an older brother and many cousins.

In 2012, he and Medlezh left Canada, without telling where they were going to and from that moment on, no one knew anything about them.

Their names were heard again two months ago when agents from the Canadian Secret Service began asking their former classmates about them, without telling them that they were already dead.

The story of the attack

32 heavily armed militants attacked the Algerian gas plant In Amenas in January this year. They had placed explosives in the oil installations of the plant and threatened to blow them up.

They captured in parallel plant workers and held them hostage for four days. The terrorist act ended after the intervention of the Algerian army and did not pass without a bloodbath. As a result, 37 hostages and 29 attackers perished.

The attackers

The authorities had seized the three surviving attackers. It became clear later that they were all members of an Islamist group called "Those who signed with blood." It was established in December last year by the historic leader of the terrorist network Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who was killed during a military operation in the gas complex.

After the bloody outcome of the attack, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said, "The 32 terrorists arrived from northern Mali. Three of them were Algerians and the rest were citizens of Canada, Egypt, Tunisia, Mali, Niger and Mauritania. All of them were members of the group of Mokhtar Belmokhtar - former leader of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. In October 2012, he left the international terrorist network to establish his own group."

Despite the statement of the Prime Minister of Algeria and until two days ago, when the reports about Christos Katsiroumbas were broadcast, the Canadian government had been rejecting any involvement of Canadian citizens in the bloody attack.



Tags: Crime newsIslamist militantsTerrorist actGas plant In AmenasAl Qaeda in the Islamic MaghrebChristos KatsiroumbasCanada
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