The West African al-Mulathamun Battalion, classified last week by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), has a record of targeting Israel, threatening Jews and utilizing anti-Zionist rhetoric to inspire its followers.
In 2011, the group’s leader Mokhtar Belmokhter said that his followers tried “to kill the ambassador of the Zionist entity” in a drive-by shooting of the Israeli embassy in Mauritania. In addition to the embassy, they also shot at a nightclub that Belmokhtar claimed the ambassador had been in moments before.
In December 2012, within a month of formally breaking away from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, with which they had been affiliated, the al-Mulathamun Battalion spokesman said, “I hope that France realizes that it is going to have dozens of Mohammed Merhas and Khaled Kelkals.” Readers may recall, Mohammed Merah attacked students at the Otzar HaTorah Jewish school in France in March, 2012, and Khaled Kelkal took part in a series of bombings in France in 1995 that included the bombing of a Jewish school in Lyon.
In August 2013, the al-Mulathamun Battalion created an alliance with an organization called the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, which has also been designated by the State Department as an FTO. The alliance’s stated raison d’etre was “to confront the Zionist campaign against Islam and Muslims.”
Such anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rhetoric and threats are common for Islamist terrorist organizations.