|Published:||Mar 23, 2013 9:40 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Mar 23, 2013 9:40 AM EDT|
PARIS (AP) - France says Al-Qaida-linked North African warlord Abou Zeid was killed in combat with French troops in Mali in February.
In a statement Saturday the office of French President Francois Hollande said the death was "definitively confirmed" and that Zeid's death "marks an important step in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel."
Chad's president had said earlier this month that Chadian troops had killed Abou Zeid. He was a pillar of the southern realm of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, responsible for the death of at least two European hostages.
The French military moved into Mali on Jan. 11 to push back militants linked to Abou Zeid and other extremist groups who had imposed harsh Islamic rule.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)