Abdelmalek Droukdel

Abdelmalek Droukdel (Arabic: عبد المالك درودكال; 20 April 1970 – 3 June 2020[1]), also known by his nom de guerre as Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud (أبو مصعب عبد الودود), was the emir, or leader, of the Algerian Islamic militant group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), formerly the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). He was killed during a French special operation during the Battle of Talahandak.

Abdelmalek Droukdel
Born(1970-04-20)20 April 1970
Died3 June 2020 (aged 50)
Talahandak, Tessalit, Mali
Other namesAbu Musab Abdel Wadoud
Known forFounder and Emir of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Military career
Allegiance Al-Qaeda
Service/branch GSPC (1996–06)
RankEmir of AQIM
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan

Algerian Civil War

Insurgency in the Maghreb

Early life and education

Droukdel was born in Meftah, Algeria, on 20 April 1970.[2] He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Blida before joining the insurgency in 1996.[3][4]

Afghan War, Algerian Civil War and the GSPC

Droukdel returned to Algeria after fighting in the Afghan civil war, and joined the GSPC.[5] Droukdel was a regional leader of the GSPC for several years before becoming the group's commander in 2004 following the death of then-leader Nabil Sahraoui.[6][7] His mentor was Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.[8] After the killing of Zarqawi in 2006, Droukdel published a statement in a website and stated "O infidels and apostates, your joy will be brief and you will cry for a long time... we are all Zarqawi."[9] Droukdel is believed to have been responsible for introducing suicide bombing to Algeria.[10]

Emir of AQIM

Under Droukdel's leadership the GSPC sought to develop itself from a largely domestic entity into a larger player on the international terror stage. As the new leader of the GSPC, Droukdel reorganized the group, and continued targeting civilians. He was, however, unable to quell the rumblings between factions. In September 2006, it was announced that the GSPC had joined forces with al-Qaeda and in January 2007, the group officially changed its name to the "Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb."[11] Droukdel played a significant role in this merger.[5] However, the local leaders of the organization such as Droukdel began to pursue much more independent activities and were distanced from al-Qaeda in the last quarter of 2012.[12]

Droukdel ousted Mokhtar Belmokhtar from the organization in late 2012 for Belmokhtar's "fractious behaviour".[13] Journalists discovered a document attributed to Droukdel and dated 20 July 2012 in Timbuktu that criticized militants for implementing Islamic law too quickly in Mali.[14] He believed the destruction of shrines would provoke Western governments to intervene in Mali.[15]


In December 2007, the United States Department of the Treasury imposed financial sanctions and froze Abdelmalek Droukdel's assets under Executive Order 13224.[16][17]


The French government said on 5 June 2020 that Droukdel, and members of his inner circle, had been killed by French special forces during the Battle of Talahandak, north of Mali two days earlier.[18] AQIM confirmed Droukdel's death two weeks later.[19]


  1. "French forces kill al-Qaida's north Africa chief in Mali". The Guardian. 5 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  2. Interview with Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud, Commander of the Algerian Salafist Group for Prayer and Combat (GSPC) Archived 21 December 2005 at the Wayback Machine Global Terror Alert, 26 September 2005.
  3. "Ragtag Insurgency Gains a Lifeline From Al Qaeda". The New York Times. 1 July 2008.
  4. Abdel Bari Atwan (2008). The Secret History of Al Qaeda. University of California Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-520-25561-6.
  5. Jacinto, Leela (27 September 2010). "Key figures in al Qaeda's North African branch" (PDF). CIMIC. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  6. New chief for Algeria's Islamists BBC, 7 September 2004
  7. Andrew Hansen; Lauren Vriens (21 July 2009). "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" (PDF). CIMIC. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  8. Belkadi, Boubker (13 December 2007). "Ruthless chief, head of Al-Qaeda's NAfrica branch". Middle East Online. Algiers. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  9. Trabelsi, Habib (9 June 2006). "Zarqawi death 'relief' for rival rebels: experts". Lebanon Wire. AFP. Archived from the original on 20 March 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  10. "Algeria al-Qaeda chief Droukdel sentenced in absentia". BBC News. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  11. Salafist Group for Call and Combat Announces its New Name as al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb SITE Institute, 26 January 2007
  12. Johny, Stanly (9 January 2013). "Waiting for a deluge". Business Standard. New Delhi. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  13. Morgan, Andy (20 January 2013). "'Mr Marlboro' lands a seismic blow". The Independent. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  14. MALI-AL-QAIDA'S SAHARA PLAYBOOK - Associated Press
  15. Doyle, Mark (26 February 2013). "Mali Islamists warned about Sharia in al-Qaeda 'manifesto'". BBC News. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  16. U.S. freezes assets of Algerian over al Qaeda ties Reuters, 4 December 2007
  17. "Terrorism: What You Need to Know About U.S. Sanctions" (PDF) (Press release). U.S. Department of Treasury. 14 February 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  18. "Al-Qaeda chief in north Africa Abdelmalek Droukdel killed - France". BBC News Online. 5 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  19. https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2020/06/aqim-confirms-leaders-death.php
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.