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Al-Murabitoun, originally part of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), became a separate organization in late 2012 after its leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, split from AQIM. After the separation, Belmokhtar threatened to fight against Western interests and announced the creation of the al-Mulathamun Battalion. In 2013, the al-Mulathamun Battalion and the Mali-based Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) announced that the two organizations would merge under the name “al-Murabitoun.” In 2015, al-Murabitoun announced a re-merger with AQIM. Al-Mourabitoun merged in 2017 with three other regional terrorist groups to form Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM).

In January 2013, what is now known as al-Murabitoun claimed responsibility for the attack against the Tiguentourine gas facility near In Amenas, in southeastern Algeria. More than 800 people were taken hostage during the four-day siege. Thirty-nine civilians, including three U.S. citizens, were killed in the attack. In November 2015, al-Murabitoun operatives attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako and took more than 170 people hostage–including U.S. citizens. Nearly 27 people were killed in the attack, among them a U.S. international development worker. Al-Murabitoun was reportedly involved in the AQIM January 2016 attack on a popular tourist hotel in Burkina Faso that killed nearly 30 people, including a U.S. citizen.

On December 19, 2013, the U.S. Department of State designated al-Murabitoun, originally under the name al-Mulathamun Battalion, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. Previously, on December 18, 2013, the Department of State designated al-Mulathamun Battalion as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224, as amended. Al-Murabitoun remains the group’s primary name. As a result, all of the group’s property, and interests in property, subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with al-Murabitoun/al-Mulathamun Battalion. It is a crime to knowingly provide, or to attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to al-Murabitoun/al-Mulathamun Battalion.


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