North Africa Al-Qaeda Branch Launches Twitter Account
The media arm of Al-Qaeda's offshoot in North Africa launched a Twitter account on Thursday, US monitors SITE Intelligence Group reported.
"We send glad tidings to our Muslim Ummah in general and its sons from among the supporters of the mujahedeen in particular," SITE quoted the Al-Andalus Media Foundation as saying on the microblogging website.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, had originally opened its @Andalus_Media Twitter account on March 16 and the next day posted two messages that were later deleted, SITE said, as reported by the AFP news agency.
"Will Muslims be silent about what is happening to their brothers in faith in terms of killing, imprisonment and displacement, or will they retaliate?" it asked in its first post.
"Will the French people succeed in convincing (President Francois) Hollande to preserve the lives of the hostages?" it asked in the other tweet that was subsequently removed, SITE said.
On Thursday, three new messages were posted on the Twitter feed, including the announcement that Al-Andalus was launching its new account on the social media website.
Another message was to the French people and the families of the group's French hostages, said SITE.
On March 24, AQIM renewed a threat to kill its French hostages and called on their families to pressure France's government to end its military operation against radical Islamists who had seized control of northern Mali.
The Al-Qaeda franchise is currently holding at least five French hostages in the region. It announced last week it had killed a sixth, business traveler Philippe Verdon, although Paris has not yet confirmed his death.