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CONTINUED FIGHTING IN MALI

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French Soldier Killed in Fighting – But Islamists Lose Two Top Commanders
By Harold Hutchison

A French soldier was killed during fighting in Mali, but the Islamist rebels lost two top commanders in fighting with Chadian troops. This is as French and African troops continue their campaign against the rebels who are affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the alleged mastermind behind a deadly hostage situation in a natural gas field, was one of the two leaders that Chadian troops reportedly killed. The Islamist commander’s death came as a militant base was overrun. The second major figure killed was Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, a top commander of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

French forces intervened in January, 2013, a year after the Islamist rebels aligned with a Tuareg rebellion. The Tuareg rebels pulled out of the alliance later in 2012.