January 25th, 2013
10:26 PM ET

Mali's Algeria connection: Signs al Qaeda in Mali orchestrated attack

United States officials are now telling CNN they are zeroing in on al Qaeda operatives based out of northern Mali as the prime suspects behind last week's terror attack and hostage crisis at a gas plant in Algeria.

The attack left three Americans dead - seven survived.

CNN'S Barbara Starr says U.S. officials are cobbling information together because Algerians are not cooperating. But all signs point to AQIM and Moktar.

Erin Burnett reported about this connections last week, hours after the siege began, when she spoke on the phone with Omar Hamaha, a military leader in the islamist group Ansar Dine, which has taken over and terrorized Northern Mali.

Al Qaeda in Mali behind Algeria attack

He told Burnett that he was working with one of al Qaeda's most senior leaders in Africa, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who claimed responsibility for the January 13th attack.

OutFront tonight: Retired General Wesley Clark is the former NATO commander and Retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton is a former intelligence officer.

Filed under: International • Mali
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