Abou Zeid was killed by French forces in a Mali fight earlier this week. Different media have reported the Al Qaeda commander’s death, but French officials did not issue a confirmation as of March 1.
There is no “official confirmation” French government spokesman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem to Radio France International (RFI) March 1. Reports say French forces killed the Al Qaeda commander in a military operation in northern Mali earlier this week.
The apparent death of Abou Zeid, who is said to be behind numerous kidnappings in Africa and at least two killings, would be a major success in the French campaign that started in January. The government of Mali had asked the French for help in dealing with rebels and Islamic terrorism.
RFI says the reason why the government has not confirmed the killing are DNA tests currently conducted in Algeria.
“Terrorist groups have taken refuge, hiding in difficult terrain. I did not confirm the media reports [of Zeid’s death], because we have to go through with the operation,” French President Francois Hollande told reporters March 1, according to France Inter.
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