Hamad el Khairy is the leader and a founding member of the terrorist group Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA, also known as MUJAO and TWJWA). Under Khairy’s leadership, MUJWA members have carried out kidnapping operations, terrorist attacks, and abductions of foreign diplomats. Khairy has claimed responsibility for the April 2012 kidnapping of seven Algerian diplomats in Mali, and has appeared in MUJWA videos making threats against those who oppose the organization. In January 2012, Khairy stated that MUJWA’s goal was to “impose sharia law across the whole of West Africa.”
Prior to his leadership role in MUJWA, Khairy was a member of AQIM, planning terrorist operations against Mauritania. In October 2011, Khairy ordered the kidnapping of three European aid workers in Algeria, leaving two wounded by gunfire. Khairy was designated a terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224 on December 7, 2012.
MUJWA was created in September 2011 as an offshoot of al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to further spread terrorist activities throughout West Africa. MUJWA has conducted various attacks and kidnappings, including a March 2012 suicide attack in Tamanrasset, Algeria, which wounded 23 people. The United States designated MUJWA as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity on December 7, 2012, and the UN al-Qaida Sanctions Committee listed MUJWA on December 5, 2012, for being associated with AQIM.