Al-Qaeda commander Abou Zeid killed in Mali by French forces

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

A map showing the main towns and cities involved in the Northern Mali Conflict.
Image: Orionist.

The President of Chad Idriss Deby has confirmed that the senior Al-Qaeda commander Abdelhamid Abou Zeid has been killed by French troops in Northern Mali.

Abou Zeid is a senior commander in the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who are fighting French-backed Malian forces, he was killed along with 40 other militants four days ago in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountain range. He is believed to have been behind the abduction of 20 Westeners as well as the killings of British national Edwin Dyer in 2009 and French national Michel Germaneau in 2010.

President Deby said in a statement on Friday: "Chadian forces killed two jihadi leaders, including Abou Zeid", "On February 22, we lost several soldiers in the Ifogha mountains after destroying the jihadists' base. This was the first time there was a direct confrontation with the jihadists". Chadian troops have been involved in helping to fight off troops as part of a wider African force and they have been playing a key role in trying to free Northern Mali.

A French government spokesperson, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem warned that reports of his death were as yet unconfirmed. Al-Qaeda are currently holding seven French nationals hostages in Sahel and there are no confirmed reports that they have been executed.