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Emmanuel Macron has said French military forces have killed the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi.

“It’s another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel,” the French president said on Wednesday night, without disclosing the location of the operation.

Sahrawi was the historic leader of Islamic State in the Sahel region of West Africa and his group targeted US soldiers in a deadly attack in Niger in 2017, Macron’s office said.

In August 2020, Sahrawi personally ordered the killing of six French charity workers and their Nigerian 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.

“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 its wounded,” Macron said in a tweet. “Their sacrifice is not in vain. With our African, European and American partners, we will continue this fight.”


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