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Rebels report first Moroccan UAV strike

A senior commander of the Western Saharan rebels was killed by a Moroccan unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), according to El-Bashir Mustapha Sayed, an advisor to the president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) that is fighting for the territory’s independence.

In an interview published by the Algerian newspaper El-Khabar on 10 April, Sayed said an Israeli-American UAV funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was used to kill Dah el-Bendir, the commander of the fourth military district. He denied that SADR President Brahim Ghali was present.

He said that Morocco’s use of armed UAVs has “opened the door to hell” as the rebels will now use all the weapons available to them.

The news of Dah el-Bendir’s death appears to have been first reported on 7 April by Mustapha Salma, an exiled former SADR official. In a Facebook post, he described Dah el-Bendir as an al-Darak (gendarmerie) commander and claimed SADR leader Brahim Ghali was nearly killed in a bombing in the Kadim el-Shahm area at dawn that day.

There was no confirmation of the incident from official Moroccan sources, which have yet to note that the SADR ended its 29-year ceasefire in November 2020 after the Moroccan military moved into the buffer zone around Guerguerat to clear protestors who were blocking the road to Mauritania.

Since then, the Algeria-based SADR has released more than 150 communiques claiming that its Saharawi People’s Liberation Army has carried out attacks on the defensive line the Moroccan military maintains across the Western Sahara to prevent rebel infiltration.

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