The 22-year-old Canadian man implicated in the deadly attack on an Algerian gas plant in January threatened to kill one foreign hostage every hour if his militant group's demands were not met.
In exclusive interviews with CBC News, several of his former hostages at the In Amenas gas plant confirmed meeting London, Ont.-native Xristos Katsiroubas – a recent convert to an extremist form of Islam – during the attack.
In those interviews — for some, the first public comments on the ordeal since it ended — survivors shed new light on Katsiroubas the militant, painting a picture at odds with the high school photo that has dominated news coverage.
Katsiroubas, who is of Greek-Canadian extraction, apparently wore a beard and fatigues, was constantly carrying what appeared to be an AK-47, and could understand and speak some Arabic.
More significantly, he helped handle weaponry and assemble improvised bombs, said one of the survivors of the ordeal who had a chance to observe him for hours.
Katsiroubas also appeared to play the role of negotiator on behalf of the group of approximately 30 al-Qaeda-like militants who stormed the plant in Algeria near the border with Libya, and held some 800 oil workers hostage. The standoff lasted four days...As docile and harmless as a ravenous wolf (and not a lone one), more like.