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France calls killing of Islamic State leader big victory

This image shows a wanted poster of Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.   | Photo Credit: AP

France killed the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara because the group attacked French aid workers, African civilians and U.S. troops, French officials said on Thursday, calling him “enemy No. 1” in protracted anti-terrorism efforts in the Sahel.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the death of Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi overnight. According to Mr. Macron's office, Mr. al-Sahrawi personally ordered the killing of six French aid workers and their Nigerien colleagues last year, and his group was behind a 2017 attack that killed U.S. and Niger military personnel.

He was killed in a strike by France’s Barkhane military operation “a few weeks ago”, but authorities waited to be sure of his identity before making the announcement, French Defence Minister Florence Parly told on Thursday.

She did not disclose details of the operation or where al-Sahrawi was killed, though the Islamic State group is active along the border between Mali and Niger.

“He was at the origin of massacres and terror,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday. He urged African governments to fill the void and seize back ground taken by the Islamic State extremists.

Rumours of the militant leader’s death had circulated for weeks in Mali, though authorities in the region had not confirmed it. It was not immediately possible to independently verify the claim or to know how the remains had been identified.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 4:33:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/france-calls-killing-of-islamic-state-leader-big-victory/article36492509.ece

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