Head of IS in Greater Sahara killed by French forces: Macron

Paris (AFP) –


The head of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, has been killed by French forces, President Emmanuel Macron tweeted early Thursday.

Islamic State in the Greater Sahara is blamed for most of the jihadist attacks in the Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso region.

The flashpoint "tri-border" area is frequently targeted by ISGS and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM).

"This is another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel," Macron said.

ISGS has carried out particularly deadly attacks targeting civilians and soldiers in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

The group targeted US soldiers in a deadly attack in 2017. On August 9, 2020, in Niger, the head of ISGS personally ordered the killing of six French aid workers and their Niger guides and drivers.

The French military has killed several high-ranking members of ISGS under its strategy of targeting jihadist leaders.

In June this year, Macron announced a reduction in France's anti-jihadist Barkhane force in the Sahel after more than eight years of military presence in the Sahel to refocus on counterterrorism operations and supporting local forces.

Armed groups' zones of influence in the Sahel
Armed groups' zones of influence in the Sahel AFP

"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.

"Their sacrifice is not in vain. With our African, European and American partners, we will continue this fight," Macron added in another tweet.