The wife of Algerian terrorist Mokhtar Belmokhtar was reportedly arrested in eastern Libya while on route to Derna, which is 250 kilometres east of Benghazi, to give birth. According to investigators in eastern Libya, Tunisian born Asma Kadoussi was traveling from Libya’s southern region.
Belmokhtar is allegedly the leader of a militant group known as Al-Mourabitoun which has strong connections in the region and has a standing reputation as a major militant figure in the Sahel, a geographic zone that is south of the Sahara and north of the Sudanian Savanna.
Upon being arrested, Kadoussi said to investigators that her husband is still alive and has settled in southern Libya.
Authorities had previously pronounced him as being dead. Soon after Belmokhtar was pronounced dead he resurfaced and resumed his plotting of attacks, one of which was an attack on an Algerian gas plant where 40 workers were killed in 2013.
In addition to the gas plant attack, Belmokhtar has been accused of kidnapping foreigners in addition to heading smuggling rings in the Sahara.
The US attempted to take out Belmokhtar by firing an airstrike at Ajdabiya, which was his presumed location in June 2015. After the airstrike, the terrorist group announced that Belmokhtar was still alive.
Sami Al-Matrih, a spokesperson for eastern Libya’s counter-terrorism department, told Reuters that as of Monday Kadoussi gave birth to a girl 40 days ago.
Kadoussi said to authorities that she made the trip from southern Libya with another Tunisian woman, Afaf Hafi. Upon arrival in Derna, the two women stayed at the residence of Jibril Al-Abd who is also considered to be an Al-Qaeda militant living in the coastal city.
It was the hospital staff that informed authorities of Kadoussi’s presence in Derna and the two women were captured on the road south of Derna. The hospital staff were alarmed when they noticed that a foreign woman, Kadoussi, came to the hospital to give birth without being accompanied by her husband, said authorities in a statement.
According to authorities, the two women were caught carrying Tunisian identity cards and forged Libyan passports.
In 2014, ISIS attempted to take control of Derna but was eventually kicked out by other armed forces.
There has been ongoing clashes in the eastern region between ISIS fighters and militants loyal to Al-Qaeda. Clashes between renegade General Khalifa Haftar and local brigades opposing him, which are made up of fighters who fought in the 2011 Libyan uprising that brought down the Gaddafi regime, have also been ongoing in the region.