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French troops kill head of Islamic State in Sahara

September 16, 2021
Adnan Abu Walid Al-Sahrawi was killed by French forces stationed in the Sahel region
Adnan Abu Walid Al-Sahrawi was killed by French forces stationed in the Sahel region

PARIS -- The head of the Islamic State group in the Sahara has been killed by French troops, President Emmanuel Macron has said.

Adnan Abu Walid Al-Sahrawi formed Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) in 2015. The group is blamed for most attacks in the region, including the targeted killing of French aid workers in 2020, BBC reported.

Sahrawi was "neutralized by French forces Macron tweeted early Thursday.

Macron called Sahrawi's death "another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel". He did not give the location or details of the operation.

The Sahel is a vast, three million sq km (1.16 sq mile) area that stretches across Africa south of the Sahara desert, from Senegal in the west to Somalia in the east.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly tweeted that Sahrawi died after a strike by France's Operation Barkhane force, which fights Islamist militants in the Sahel, mostly in Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso.

She added that it was "a decisive blow against this terrorist group", and that the "fight continues".

Last August, Sahrawi personally ordered the killing of six French charity workers and their Nigerien guides and drivers, the French presidency said.

The killings followed a series of large-scale attacks on military bases in Mali and Niger in late 2019. The group was also said to have been behind a deadly attack on US troops in Niger in 2017.

The Sahel's porous borders are often exploited by drug runners, people smugglers and militants such as the ISGS. -- Agencies


September 16, 2021
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