France’s military has assassinated a top ISIS and al-Qaeda leader, French President Emmanuel Macron announced Wednesday.
Macron announced on Twitter that ISIS-GS leader Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi was “neutralized by French forces” during a raid in North Africa.
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“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.”
“Their sacrifice is not in vain,” Macron continued.
“With our African, European, and American partners, we will continue this fight.”
Dailymail.co.uk reports: In October 2019, The U.S. State Department offered ‘up to $5million’ for any information leading to the capture or killing of Al-Sahraoui.
Morocco-born Al-Sahraoui claimed responsibility for the ambush in January 2018, as he built up his reputation within ISIS.
Adnan Abou Walid Al-Sahraoui also admitted to ‘personally ordering’ the assassination of six French aid workers and their local guide and driver in August 2020.
All were murdered by a team of ISIS gunman on motorbikes as after they set off on a visit to the Kouré Giraffe Reserve, in Niger.
Al-Sahrawi started his adult life fighting a guerrilla war against Moroccan forces in the western Sahara, before joining various jihadi groups that merged with ISIS in 2015.
He was said to have been lightly wounded in a fire fight with Al-Qaeda loyalists a year later, but continued to lead operations, mainly against government forces seen as being pro-west.
Al-Sahrawi, who was married, came close to being killed by the French in February 2018, close to Méneka, in Mali, but ‘escaped on foot in the middle of the night with some of his men,’ according to intelligence sources in Paris.
Mr Macron’s downscaling of anti-terrorist operations in Africa led to accusations that he was abandoning a crucial war, just as the USA did the same in Afghanistan.
But the killing of Al- Sahraoui will be viewed as a major success for French forces as they pursue a new strategy in strategically vital part of the world.