The war between Arab nationalist regimes and Islamic insurgency groups continues.

The Middle East Newsline says Algerian security sources have said Abu Harith al-Libya, a leading commander of the al-Qaida Organization (AQIM) in North Africa, was killed in a clash with security forces in the southern part of the country.

“Abu Harith was a key operative who helped AQIM smuggle weapons and drugs as well as abduct Westerners,” a security source said.

Abu Harith, his nomme de guerre, was killed on Monday in Tanan, near the Algerian border with Mali. They said Abu Harith, believed to be a Libyan, was the No. 2 figure in the Tariq Bin Ziyad, a leading element of AQIM.

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In the clash, another AQIM operative was killed in Tanan, about 1,500 miles south of Algiers.

Algerian special forces had spotted a suspected AQIM squad amid the state of alert along the Algerian-Mali border. Algerian security forces had been on high alert amid AQIM’s threat to kill a British national by mid-May. AQIM has demanded the release of a leading al-Qaida operative, Abu Qatada, held in Britain and set for extradition to Jordan.

Tariq Bin Ziyad was established by Amari Saifi, who helped establish the Salafist Brigade for Combat and Call, which merged with al-Qaida in 2006 to form AQIM. Tariq Bin Ziyad has been operating in southern Algeria near the border with Mali, which has become a stronghold for al-Qaida.

Last Saturday, Mali announced the arrest of four Algerians said to work for AQIM. Mali has come under African and Western pressure to launch a crackdown on the Islamic insurgency in the wake of AQIM’s abduction of Westerners in late 2008 and early 2009.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.