Abou Zeid was killed in Mali about three days ago. The former Al Qaeda commander is presumed dead along with 40 other militants in a French airstrike.
Abdelhamid Abou Zeid is the Al Qaeda commander of the North African wing, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Recently in January, Abou Zeid led an attack on central Mali where his men were attacked by French troops who were aiding the Malian government in repelling Al Qaeda from the region.
According to Sky News, Abou Zeid was believed to have killed British national Edwin Dyer in 2009, and 78-year-old Frenchman Michel Germaneau in 2010. Abou Zeid used hostage taking as a strategy to raise tens of millions of dollars in ransom payments to support Al Qaeda military operations.
According to Heavy.com, Algerian Ennahar TV first reported the news that 40 militants, including Abou Zeid, were killed in the region of Tigargara in Northern Mali three days ago. However, no reports were made by the Algerian government or the French Defense Military on whether Abou Zeid was killed.
The French military is still fighting to control the region according to Reuters:
“The official said 1,200 French troops, 800 Chadian soldiers and some elements of the Malian army were still in combat to the south of Tessalit in the Adrar mountain range. Ten logistics sites and an explosives factory had been destroyed in the operation as well as 16 vehicles.”
According to the New York Times, American officials say that the “reports that Mr. Abou Zeid had been killed appeared to be credible and that Washington would view his death as a serious blow to the Al Qaeda wing.”