France says it killed Al-Qaida North Africa chief with US help | Eurasia Diary -

10 July, Friday

France says it killed Al-Qaida North Africa chief with US help

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French military forces killed al-Qaida's North Africa chief, Abdelmalek Droukdel, during an operation in Mali, officials said Friday, reports citing Voice of America.

"On June 3, French army forces, with the support of their local partners, killed the emir of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Abdelmalek Droukdel, and several of his closest collaborators, during an operation in northern Mali," French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly wrote on Twitter.

French forces had been hunting Droukdel, a key Islamist fighter, for more than seven years, officials said.

The French-led operation against Droukdel was aided by U.S. forces, which provided intelligence and surveillance support to “fix the target,” according to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

"This mission is a collective win,” AFRICOM spokesman Col. Chris Karns told VOA.

"This was a great example of cooperation and partnership to get after a common threat,” he said, praising France’s commitment to fighting both al-Qaida and Islamic State-linked terror groups in West Africa.

Officials said Droukdel, who was known to be involved in all aspects al-Qaida’s operations in the region, had been seeking to expand the amount of territory under his control and increase the number of attacks.

“This definitely is a blow to AQIM and certainly degrades their ability to plan and carry out operations,” Karns added.

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