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The head of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, who was wanted for deadly attacks against American soldiers and foreign aid workers, was killed in an operation by French troops, President Emmanuel Macron announced Wednesday.
“Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, leader of the terrorist group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, was neutralized by French forces,” Macron tweeted. “This is another great success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel.”
The French president also sent his condolences to the families of the victims and heroes who died for France in the Sahel. “Their sacrifice is not in vain. With our African, European and American partners, we will continue this fight,” he said in another tweet.
For her part, the defense minister responded to Macron on Twitter and said the Sahrawis died after an attack by the French Barkhane force, which fights jihadists in the Sahel.
“I congratulate the military and Intelligence agents who have contributed to this long-range hunt,” Parly said in another tweet.
As reported by the New York Times, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui led the group that claimed responsibility for a 2017 attack that killed four American soldiers on patrol with Nigerian forces.
“In August 2020, Mr. al-Sahraoui personally ordered the killing of six French charity workers and their Nigerian driver,” the New York Times report said.
Sahraoui formed the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) in 2015, and has since been blamed for the majority of jihadist attacks in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
The “triple frontier” is frequently attacked by ISGS and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), all enemies of American forces.