France kills top Al Qaeda leader in Mali

Algerian Yahia Djouadi reportedly responsible for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's financing and logistics

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The French military said on Monday it had killed a senior Al Qaeda leader in Mali, as France prepares to send about 2,400 troops out of Mali to other countries in the Sahel.

Yahia Djouadi, an Algerian responsible for financing and logistics in the group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, was killed overnight between February 25 and 26.

An operation led by ground forces and supported by a Tiger attack helicopter and two drones killed Djouadi, also known as Abu Ammar Al Jazairi, 160 kilometres north of Timbuktu.

His death “once again weakens Al Qaeda's governance” in Mali, the French military said, calling him “a major link in northern Mali and especially the Timbuktu area” to Al Qaeda-aligned GSIM.

While the French military pullout is set to stretch over six months, the army said that “operations continue against armed terrorist groups, especially against the top leaders” of groups linked to ISIS and Al Qaeda.

French forces first intervened in Mali in 2013, but the operation was scrapped due to a row between Paris and Bamako following a military coup in the Sahel country in 2020.

Updated: March 07, 2022, 3:12 PM