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Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud

Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud
File:Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud.png
Born (1970-04-20) 20 April 1970 (age 45)
Meftah, Algeria
Allegiance Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Rank Emir of AQIM
Battles/wars Islamic insurgency in Algeria (2002–present)

Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud (born 20 April 1970), a.k.a. Abdelmalek Droukdel, is 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).

Early life and education

Wadoud was born in Meftah, Algeria on 20 April 1970.[1] He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Blida before joining the insurgency in 1996.[2][3]

Militant commander

Wadoud returned to Algeria after fighting in the Afghan civil war, and joined the GSPC.[4] Wadoud 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.[5][6] His mentor was Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.[7] After the killing of Zarqawi in 2006, Wadoud 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."[8]

Under Wadoud's leadership the GSPC sought to develop itself from a largely domestic entity into a larger player on the international terror stage. 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."[9] Wadoud played a significant role in this merge.[4] However, the local leaders of the organization such as Wadoud began to pursue much more independent activities and were distanced from al-Qaeda in the last quarter of 2012.[10]

Wadoud ousted Mokhtar Belmokhtar from the organization in late 2012 for Belmokhtar's "fractious behaviour".[11] Journalists discovered a document attributed to Wadoud and dated 20 July 2012 in Timbuktu that criticized militants for implementing Islamic law too quickly in Mali.[12] He believed the destruction of shrines would provoke Western governments to intervene in Mali.[13]


In December 2007, the United States Department of the Treasury imposed financial sanctions and froze Abdel Wadoud's assets under Executive Order 13224.[14][15]


  1. ^ Interview with Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud, Commander of the Algerian Salafist Group for Prayer and Combat (GSPC) Global Terror Alert, 26 September 2005.
  2. ^ Ragtag Insurgency Gains a Lifeline From Al Qaeda New York Times, 1 July 2008
  3. ^ Abdel Bari Atwan (4 February 2008). The Secret History of Al Qaeda. University of California Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-520-25561-6. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Jacinto, Leela (27 September 2010). "Key figures in al Qaeda's North African branch" (PDF). CIMIC. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  5. ^ New chief for Algeria's Islamists BBC, 7 September 2004
  6. ^ Andrew Hansen; Lauren Vriens (21 July 2009). "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" (PDF). CIMIC. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Belkadi, Boubker (13 December 2007). "Ruthless chief, head of Al-Qaeda's NAfrica branch". Middle East Online (Algiers). Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Trabelsi, Habib (9 June 2006). "Zarqawi death 'relief' for rival rebels: experts". Lebanon Wire. AFP. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Salafist Group for Call and Combat Announces its New Name as al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb SITE Institute, 26 January 2007
  10. ^ Johny, Stanly (9 January 2013). "Waiting for a deluge". Business Standard (New Delhi). Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Morgan, Andy (20 January 2013). "'Mr Marlboro' lands a seismic blow". The Independent. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  12. ^ MALI-AL-QAIDA'S SAHARA PLAYBOOK - Associated Press
  13. ^ Doyle, Mark (2013-02-26). "Mali Islamists warned about Sharia in al-Qaeda 'manifesto'". BBC News. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  14. ^ U.S. freezes assets of Algerian over al Qaeda ties Reuters, 4 December 2007
  15. ^ "Terrorism: What You Need to Know About U.S. Sanctions" (PDF) (Press release). U.S. Department of Treasury. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.