Denis Allex: French agent ‘killed by Somalia’s al-Shabab’
The French government has said it believes Mr Allex was killed during last week’s raid, in which two French commandos also died.
Mr Allex – a French spy – was kidnapped in Somalia in July 2009.
Al-Shabab, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda, said on its Twitter account that Mr Allex had been killed on Wednesday.
Al-Shabab had earlier threatened to kill Mr Allex and said that because of the rescue attempt, France would be responsible for his death.
On Friday, about 50 French commandos launched an assault by helicopter on the al-Shabab stronghold of Bulo Marer, believing Mr Allex was being held in the town. Al-Shabab said it had advance warning of the attack and Mr Allex – a codename for the French intelligence agent – was not in Bulo Mare at the time.
France says 17 militants were killed during the fighting, which witnesses said was intense and lasted for at least an hour.
Several civilians were reported to have been killed in the clashes. France said it launched the operation after repeated attempts to negotiate Mr Allex’s release failed. Somalia’s government said it had no prior knowledge of the raid and it regretted the loss of civilian lives.
On Monday, al-Shabab published a photograph of a French soldier who the group said had died of gunshot wounds after being captured during the raid. Somalia has not had an effective central government for more than two decades.
France has a large military base in neighbouring Djibouti, including army, marine and air force units.
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