The leader of a radical Islamic jihadist group in North Africa known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was reportedly killed on Thursday by French military forces,” Breitbart reported.
AQIM commander Abdelmalek Droukdel, who also commanded several other affiliated jihadist groups in the region, was reportedly “neutralized” along with “many close associates” in a strike against a base in northern Mali that he operated out of, according to French Defense Minister Florence Parly.
Droukdel and his jihadists have been accused of and claimed credit for numerous attacks and kidnappings targeting both soldiers and civilians, particularly Westerners, across the Sahel region for years. In fact, Droukdel had been tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in absentia in an Algerian court in 2013 for his role in a bombing of a government building that killed 26 and wounded at least 177 more.
The report of Droukdel’s death indicated that U.S. military intelligence had assisted in locating the terrorist leader. A spokesman named Col. Chris Karns told the media that “U.S. Africa Command was able to assist with intelligence and … support to fix the target.”
With this top jihadist commander and many of his “close associates” no longer alive to plot and carry out attacks, it is thought that AQIM and the other affiliated terror groups will be in “disarray” and not much of a threat for the foreseeable future.
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