France says chief of Islamic State in Sahara has been killed

France’s president introduced the demise of Islamic State within the Higher Sahara’s chief late Wednesday, calling Adnan Abu al-Walid al-Sahrawi’s killing “a significant success” for the French army after greater than eight years preventing extremists within the Sahel.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that al-Sahrawi “was neutralized by French forces” however gave no additional particulars. It was not introduced the place al-Sahrawi was killed, although the Islamic State group is lively alongside the border between Mali and Niger.

“The nation is pondering tonight of all its heroes who died for France within the Sahel within the Serval and Barkhane operations, of the bereaved households, of all of its wounded,” Macron tweeted. “Their sacrifice is just not in useless.”

Rumors of the militant chief’s demise had circulated for weeks in Mali, although there had been no affirmation by authorities within the area. It was not instantly potential to independently confirm the declare or to know the way the stays had been recognized.

“This can be a decisive blow towards this terrorist group,” French Protection Minister Florence Parly tweeted. “Our combat continues.”

Al-Sahrawi had claimed accountability for a 2017 assault in Niger that killed 4 U.S. army personnel and 4 folks with Niger’s army.

He had lengthy been lively with Islamic extremists in Mali, at one time serving because the spokesman of the Mali-based group referred to as MUJAO that managed the main northern city of Gao in the course of the jihadist occupation in 2012.

That group was loyal to the regional al-Qaida affiliate. However al-Sahrawi parted methods and in October 2016 a video circulated on the web through which he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

The French army has been preventing Islamic extremists within the Sahel area the place it was as soon as the colonial energy after intervening in northern Mali in 2013. It not too long ago introduced, although, that it could be drawing down its army presence within the area, with plans to withdraw 2,000 troops by early subsequent yr.

Information of al-Sahrawi’s demise comes as France’s international combat towards the Islamic State group is making headlines in Paris. The important thing defendant within the 2015 Paris assaults trial mentioned Wednesday that these coordinated killings have been in retaliation for French airstrikes on the Islamic State group, calling the deaths of 130 harmless folks “nothing private” as he acknowledged his function for the primary time.

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