France says it has killed the chief of al-Qaeda in north Africa, Abdelmalek Droukdel, in an operation in Mali.
Defence Minister Florence Parly mentioned Droukdel together with members of his internal circle had been killed within the north of the nation on Wednesday.
French forces had additionally captured a senior Islamic State group commander in Mali in an operation in Could, she mentioned.
The “daring operations” had dealt “extreme blows to the terrorist teams”, she mentioned.
“Our forces, in co-operation with their companions within the Sahel, will proceed to hunt them relentlessly,” she mentioned.
What’s the context?
As head of Al-Qaeda within the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Droukdel was answerable for all associates in north Africa and likewise commanded al-Qaeda’s Sahel affiliate, Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM).
The captured Islamic State group commander, Mohamed Mrabat, was a veteran jihadist and had a senior position within the Islamic State within the Larger Sahara (ISGS) group, Ms Parly mentioned. He was caught on 19 Could, she added.
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On 7 Could IS revealed its militants had been engaged in fierce clashes with Al-Qaeda in Mali and Burkina Faso. It accused JNIM of attacking its positions, blocking gas provides and detaining IS supporters.
ISGS has shortly established a foothold within the Sahel international locations after asserting a presence in March final 12 months.
Who was Abdelmalik Droukdel?
Aged in his late 40s, Droukdel fought towards Soviet troops in Afghanistan, and was thought to treat the previous chief of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as his inspiration.
Below his management AQIM carried out quite a few lethal assaults, together with a 2016 assault on a hotel in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou that left 30 useless and 150 injured.
In 2012 he was sentenced to dying by a courtroom in Algeria after being convicted in absentia of homicide, membership of a terrorist organisation and assaults utilizing explosives.
The costs associated to 3 bomb assaults within the capital Algiers in April 2007 which killed 22 individuals and wounded greater than 200 others.
A veteran jihadist
This veteran Algerian jihadist was some of the infamous commanders within the north Africa-Sahara area, waging violent campaigns first in Algeria then later towards French and different forces in Mali.
In line with the UN Safety Council, which sanctioned him in 2007, Droukdel was an explosives skilled who constructed units that killed tons of of civilians in public locations. As chief of Al-Qaeda within the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) he was instrumental within the kidnap of each native and western nationals in assaults as far aside as Tunisia, Niger and Mali.
He additionally helped the group broaden its space of actions deep into Mali the place, in line with the French authorities, he met his finish.
Jihadist teams are often fast to announce a successor to killed or captured leaders however in north Africa there are indicators of accelerating stress between Al-Qaeda and its more moderen rival, Islamic State and its associates.
What’s France doing within the Sahel?
Hundreds of French troops have been deployed in Mali since 2013.
France, the previous colonial energy, turned concerned after Islamist militants overran components of the north. With French assist, Mali’s military has recaptured the territory, however insecurity continues and violence has unfold to neighbouring international locations.
Greater than 5,000 French troops have been serving as a part of Operation Barkhane in help of the forces of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.
Nonetheless they face a rising insurgency by jihadist teams, which have considerably stepped up their assaults within the Sahel international locations since final 12 months.
— to www.bbc.com