Macron Says French Forces Killed Islamic State Leader in Sahara

French President Emmanuel Macron is seen before the arrival of Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (not seen) for a working lunch at the Chateau de Fontainebleau in Fontainebleau near Paris, France, September 15, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that French military forces had killed Islamic militant Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

"It's another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel," Macron said in a tweet, without disclosing the location of the operation.

Sahrawi was the historic leader of the Islamic State in the Sahel region of West Africa and his group targeted U.S. soldiers in a deadly attack in 2017, Macron's office said. In August 2020, Sahrawi personally ordered the killing of six French charity workers and their Nigerien driver, it added.

Macron said in July that France would soon begin reshaping its force in the Sahel, where it has been on the front line of the fight against Islamist militants, and would ultimately halve its military presence.

With no apparent end in sight to France's operations and political turmoil especially in Mali, Paris had grown frustrated.


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