The wife of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the Algerian-born head of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), is reported to have been tracked down and arrested near the desert town of Mechili, some 100 kilometres south of Beida. She and another Tunisian woman, together with their driver, were caught heading towards Jufra, south of Sirte, according to the Libyan news agency LANA. It quotes the spokesman of the Beida government’s anti-terrorism and subversion directorate, Sami Al-Matrih, saying that the women were ambushed following a tip-off. It is being suggested that they were on their way to meet Belmokhtar in southern Libya. There is no other confirmation of the report, however. A number of reports claim that Belmokhtar was the prime target of the air raid on Gurdah Al-Shatti six days ago in which a number of AQIM fighters were said to have been killed. Although the anti-terrorism directorate has said that the one of the two Tunisian women arrested is Belmokhtar’s wife, it has not named her.
On Wednesday, Saudi forces stationed on the southern border repelled an attack by Houthi militias and forces loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The attack targeted Al-Dood Mountain in the Al-Khobah area. Saudi forces launched a counterattack that resulted in the death of at least 15 Houthi fighters and the capture of four others by the Parachute Brigade. Dozens of militiamen fled the battleground, abandoning their weapons.