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France Says it Has Eliminated the Head of IS in the Sahel

Emmanuel Macron has said French military forces have killed the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, claiming “another major success” in the fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel. Sahrawi was the historic leader of Islamic State in the Sahel region of west Africa and his group targeted US soldiers in a deadly attack in Niger in 2017, Macron’s office said. In August 2020, the extremist leader personally ordered the killing of six French charity workers and their Nigerien driver, it added. Sahrawi pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2015 and was accepted as its leader in the borderlands of Mali and Niger the following year. Macron recently said France’s deployment of more than 4,000 troops in Mali would soon be dramatically scaled down, with the remnants merged into a broader international mission. The force has been stationed in the country for almost a decade and has struggled to stem the expansion of the territory contested by groups linked to IS and al-Qaida.