French President Emmanuel Macron praised the efforts of the French military after claiming to have shot Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi overnight.
The operation in the Great Sahara ended with the death of a man whom the French authorities described as “enemy n ° 1”. Al-Sahrawi is believed to be the man who ordered the ambush in the Tong Tongo area that killed four US servicemen in 2017, along with other attacks that resulted in the deaths of French nationals and thousands of African civilians.
Macron announced the death of al-Sahraoui and applauded the French effort, noting the impact that the death of al-Sahraoui will have on future terrorist and extremist activities in the region.
“Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, head of the terrorist group Islamic State in the Great Sahara has been neutralized by French forces”, Macron tweeted. “This is another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel. “
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“The Nation is thinking this evening of all its heroes who died for France in the Sahel in the Serval and Barkhane operations, of the bereaved families, of all of its wounded,” continued its press release. “Their sacrifice is not in vain. With our African, European and American partners, we will continue this fight. “
The French government did not disclose how it identified al-Sahrawi, saying only that the operation was carried out weeks ago, but that officials delayed announcing its success until the al-Sahrawi identity can be confirmed.
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“This strengthens our determination to fight terrorism with our partners in the Sahel, with our American and European partners,” French Defense Minister Florence Parly told reporters. “We will not leave the Sahel. “
Army Chief of Staff Thierry Burkhard said Al-Sahraoui was on a motorcycle with another person when a drone strike hit him near the Niger border on August 17.
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Rumors of the militant leader’s death had circulated for weeks in Mali, although authorities in the region have not confirmed it.
The White House, Pentagon, and State Department did not return a request for comment from Fox News.
French foreign intelligence chief Bernard Emie estimated that several hundred jihadist fighters remained in the area.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.