The leader of al-Qaeda in north Africa, Abdelmalek Droukdel. AFP

Al-Qaeda's chief in north Africa killed, says French defence minister

Abdelmalek Droukdel was the leader of al-Qaeda in north Africa.

FRENCH FORCES HAVE killed the leader of Al-Qaeda in north Africa, Algerian Abdelmalek Droukdel, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said this evening.

Droukdel was killed yesterday in the northwest Mali town of Tessalit.

“Many of his close associates” were also “neutralised”, said Parly.

Thousands of French troops have been in Mali for several years. The country got involved in conflict with Islamist militants in 2013. 

Back then, the militants had controlled northern Mali for 10 months and had threatened to advance on the capital, to the remote mountains of the far northeast, along the Algerian border.

France pushed back and recaptured the territory, but parts of the country remain unstable. 

With reporting from Dominic McGrath

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