'Important victory': France after its troops kill ISIS chief in Greater Sahara
"This is yet another important victory in our battle against terrorist organisations in the Sahel," Macron added, without specifying the operation's location or specifics.
The chief of ISIS in the Greater Sahara, who was sought for killing US soldiers and international humanitarian workers, was killed by French troops in operation. President Emmanuel Macron tweeted early Thursday that Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi had been "neutralised" by French soldiers. "This is yet another important victory in our battle against terrorist organisations in the Sahel," Macron added, without specifying the operation's location or specifics. The terrorist leader was wanted by the US for a fatal 2017 attack on US forces in Niger, as well as the murder of French humanitarian workers in 2020.
The majority of jihadist assaults in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso have been blamed on ISIS in the Greater Sahara. ISGS and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims regularly target the volatile "tri-border" area (GSIM). ISGS has committed devastating assaults in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, killing civilians and troops.
The US had issued a $5 million reward for information on Sahrawi's whereabouts since he was sought in connection with an incident in Niger on October 4, 2017, that killed four US Special Forces and four Niger forces. The ISGS chief personally ordered the assassination of six French humanitarian workers and their Niger guides and drivers on August 9, 2020, in Niger.
Sahrawi was a member of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and co-led Mujao, a Malian Islamist organisation that kidnapped Spanish humanitarian workers and a number of Algerian diplomats in Mali in 2012. Since the commencement of its military operation in Mali in 2013, the French military has killed many high-ranking members of ISGS as part of its goal of targeting jihadist commanders. After more than eight years of military involvement in the Sahel, Macron said in June that France's anti-jihadist Barkhane force will be scaled back to focus on counter-terrorism operations and helping local forces.