The French have recently killed a jihadist leader, Ahmed el Tilemsi, in northern Mali.
This is not the first time jihadists have been in the news recently. According to a report from the Inquisitr, another teen girl vanishes who may have joined the jihadists.
Ahmed el Tilemsi was the military head and co-founder of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, a jihadist group very active in the region.
Tilemsi “was a very valuable target. We had been tracking him for several days”, a government source told AFP. French forces in the northern Gao region carried out an operation alongside Malian troops which led to the “neutralization of about a dozen members of an armed terrorist group, including Ahmed el Tilemsi,” said army spokesman Gilles Jaron.
“French troops killed a senior jihadist leader in northern Mali — a man purportedly behind a number of high-profile attacks and kidnappings, and ambitious and brazen enough that the United States had issued a $5 million reward for him,” the French military announced Thursday.
The French killed the jihadist in a military operation that was coordinated with Malian forces. “One of the things that proves he was a senior chief (in the group) is that when he got killed… he was accompanied by a dozen (fighters) who were also ensuring his security,” French Defense Ministry spokesman Sacha Mandel said.
Six other jihadists were killed and three were taken prisoners. “The group we hit was known for preparing suicide attacks,” said the army spokesman Jaron. “We’ve really hit Al-Murabitoun hard.”
These attacks happened just days after hostage Serge Lazarevic was released. “What is clear in my mind is that we are seeing this happen just days after Serge Lazarevic,” said Jean-Paul Rouiller, director of the Geneva Center for Training and Analysis of Terrorism, who tracks the jihadist groups in Mali. “The French military can finally take the gloves off.”
The French raid that killed the jihadist was part of Operation Barkhane, the French’s effort to counter extreme groups like the jihadists across regions from Mauritania to Chad. “Operation Barkhane is an operation that never stops,” Colonel Jaron said.
The French’s killing of the jihadist will slow down the jihadist’s aggressive actions in the region. The French will continue to fight the jihadists to restore peace to the region.
[Image via AFP]